A new $15 million research project is being launched to enable manufacturing at the almost unimaginably small scale of one atom at a time. (Via Responsible Nanotechnology.)
The technology is based on the established ability to remove individual hydrogen atoms from a silicon surface using a scanning tunneling microscope, and could enable a wide variety of devices and products, including:
* Ultra-low-power semiconductors for cellphones and other wireless communications.
* Sensors with ultra-high sensitivity.
* Data encryption orders of magnitude more secure than existing technology.
* Optical elements that enable unprecedented performance in computing and communications.
* Customized surfaces that would have an array of applications in the biomedical and pharmaceutical industries.
* Nanoscale genomics arrays that would enable a person’s complete genetic sequence to be read in less than two hours.
The Atomically Precise Manufacturing Consortium is being led by Zyvex Labs LLC, a molecular nanotechnology company based in Richardson, Texas. The project includes a mixture of funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Texas Emerging Technology Fund and cost sharing from the team members.
As Mike Treder at the Responsible Nanotechnology blog notes:
This is still not quite equivalent to molecular manufacturing, but it does represent a major step along the way. And make no mistake, that is the eventual goal of this team.
[tags]nanotechnology, molecular manufacturing, technology[/tags]