Mar 17, 2015, 1:14:54 AM3/17/15
First of all, Jim and other moderators and regulars here, hello. It is so good
to see you maintaining Sci.Nanotech for all these years. I appreciate that
I was discussing molecular manufacturing possibilities with someone who works
in the semi-conductor field, and who leans towards the skeptical side regarding
the concepts of nano-factories and molecular-manufacturing. I would appreciate
your input on this, please.
I laid out the basic concepts to the person, based on the work of Eric Drexler
in Nanosystems, and Radical Abundance (his latest book as you likely know), and
varied materials from other nanotechnology researchers such as Robert Freitas.
Here was his response, and I would like your further response to this, please.
" Except atomic precision manufacturing will not replace how we do these th=
ings as it will NEVER be cost effective for these applications as long as time
is an issue. Perhaps you don't understand that there are roughly 6 x10^23 atoms
in 2 ounces of steel. At an atom a second, that will be 2 x 10^16 years to make
a knife with atomically-precise engineering. Name me one company willing to pay
10^15 generations of highly-trained workers to make one knife.
Also, in order to have additive atomic precision, you need to maintain vacuum
pressures of 10^-6 to 10^-9 torr or less for the entire time you run the
process - or unwanted atoms will get in. Perhaps you have no idea how costly
vacuum equipment for atomic layer deposition is, but my buddy just bought a
CHEAP system for 1.5 million, and it's maximum size capability is 6 inch
diameters and 1 inch thick working pieces. It takes a day to deposit 100 nm of
material, and 10 days to do 1 micrometer. The total cost of producing a
micrometer of ceramic or metal using the tool is well over 100 times that of
In order to do atomic precision, you will never get rid of vacuum. You will
always have huge cost associated with that. Current methods of making 10's of
atoms precision placed in production quantities is multiple millions to tens of
billions per line. I don't expect tools that don't require that type of
manufacture will be manufactured using that method as it is not cost effective
or lean in terms of manufacturing costs. Realism is just as important to
understanding science and engineering as having an imagination."
I was telling him that massively-parallel devices, manmade versions of what we
see in nature, such as ribosomes, proteins, and enzymes, would cut this time
down because they would use self-replication and exponential-assembly, and
other methods, such as convergent-assembly, to manageable time scales, in the
minutes to hours to days-sort of time, depending on what you would want to
I also made it clear that I am referring to advanced assembler based and
nanofactory based systems, NOT what currently exists, to be clear.
I have a second question, it is somewhat related.
An individual claimed that certain substances and materials will always be more
efficient, and cheaper to produce, using bulk-technology, even once advanced
molecular technology was developed, and two examples he used were "salt" and
"jade" and similiar stones to jade. He said I may be right about diamond and
fullerene because these are pure carbon, perhaps with some hydrogen, but,
complex stones and salt and other materials would always require bulk
technology of some sort to make cheaply. Is this true or false?