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Current Results of Our Research

These pages, marked with GREEN headings, are published for comment and criticism. These are not our final findings; some of these opinions will probably change.   LOG OF UPDATES 

CRN Research: Overview of Current Findings   

bulletTimeline for Molecular Manufacturing   
bulletProducts of Molecular Manufacturing
bulletBenefits of Molecular Manufacturing
bulletDangers of Molecular Manufacturing  
bulletNo Simple Solutions
bulletAdministration Options
bulletThe Need for Early Development
bulletThe Need for International Development
bulletThirty Essential Nanotechnology Studies
bulletStudy #6     YOU ARE HERE

Thirty Essential Nanotechnology Studies - #6

Overview of all studies: Because of the largely unexpected transformational power of molecular manufacturing, it is urgent to understand the issues raised. To date, there has not been anything approaching an adequate study of these issues. CRN's recommended series of thirty essential studies is organized into five sections, covering fundamental theory, possible technological capabilities, bootstrapping potential, product capabilities, and policy questions. Several preliminary conclusions are stated, and because our understanding points to a crisis, a parallel process of conducting the studies is urged. 

CRN is actively looking for researchers interested in performing or assisting with this work. Please contact CRN Research Director Chris Phoenix if you would like more information or if you have comments on the proposed studies.

Study #6 What other chemistries and options should be studied?
  This is a grab bag of questions intended to suggest possibilities that may have been overlooked.
Subquestion What other chemistries may be suitable for atomically precise programmable assembly?
Preliminary answer Merkle has suggested small cubical molecules with boron and nitrogen. Phoenix and Toth-Fejel suggested POSS (polyhedral oligomeric silsesquioxane) as an early building block. Silica is interesting, especially since its deposition can be catalyzed by proteins such as R5. Perhaps precise metal nanoparticles could be fused. Other possibilities no doubt will be offered.
Subquestion What is the potential of top-down technologies using imprecise chemistry, in terms of self-manufacture and device performance? (e.g. extrusion, DPN, metal-over-buckytube, MEMS, inkjet, stereolithography, masked or hologram-switched optical surface activation)
Preliminary answer Some of these appear to have fairly high throughput. Many are flexible in the materials they can deposit. More work will be needed to determine what kinds of devices, especially bearing surfaces, can be made with these imprecise technologies.
Subquestion What about atom holograms and atom lasers?
Preliminary answer Unknown. Atom holograms, a way of programmably redirecting a beam of atoms into complex deposition patterns, were demonstrated in Japan several years ago, and have not made a lot of news since. Atom laser is a confusingly similar name for a very different technology: a way to reduce a cloud of atoms to a single quantum state, making them extremely controllable. The technologies may be synergistic.
Subquestion Are there synergies between any of the considered technologies, making problems easier to solve or improving performance of a technology?
Preliminary answer Almost certainly.
Conclusion Molecular manufacturing may be easier than we realize. Many possibly helpful technologies have not yet been assessed. There's no way to know without studying multiple alternatives.
Other studies 1. Is mechanically guided chemistry a viable basis for a manufacturing technology?
2. To what extent is molecular manufacturing counterintuitive and underappreciated in a way that causes underestimation of its importance?
What is the performance and potential of diamondoid machine-phase chemical manufacturing and products?
4. What is the performance and potential of biological programmable manufacturing and products?
5. What is the performance and potential of nucleic acid manufacturing and products?
What applicable sensing, manipulation, and fabrication tools exist?
8. What will be required to develop diamondoid machine-phase chemical manufacturing and products?
9. What will be required to develop biological programmable manufacturing and products?
10. What will be required to develop nucleic acid manufacturing and products?
11. How rapidly will the cost of development decrease?
12. How could an effective development program be structured?
What is the probable capability of the manufacturing system?
14. How capable will the products be?
15. What will the products cost?
16. How rapidly could products be designed?
Which of today's products will the system make more accessible or cheaper?
18. What new products will the system make accessible?
19. What impact will the system have on production and distribution?
20. What effect will molecular manufacturing have on military and government capability and planning, considering the implications of arms races and unbalanced development?
21. What effect will this have on macro- and microeconomics?
22. How can proliferation and use of nanofactories and their products be limited?
23. What effect will this have on policing?
24. What beneficial or desirable effects could this have?
25. What effect could this have on civil rights and liberties?
26. What are the disaster/disruption scenarios?
27. What effect could this have on geopolitics?
28. What policies toward development of molecular manufacturing does all this suggest?
29. What policies toward administration of molecular manufacturing does all this suggest?
30. How can appropriate policy be made and implemented?
Studies should begin immediately. The situation is extremely urgent. The stakes are unprecedented, and the world is unprepared. The basic findings of these studies should be verified as rapidly as possible (months, not years). Policy preparation and planning for implementation, likely including a crash development program, should begin immediately.

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