March 03, 2006

Molecular Nanotechnology and nanofactory references

The places to start are, foresight,,, zyvex inc and this site

The diamondoid pathway is described by Robert Freitas

walking molecules,
protein based nano-actuators
more physics new

other state of the art Molecular Manipulation for Mechanosynthesis (Experimental)
[put together by Robert Freitas]

Wilson Ho, Hyojune Lee, "Single bond formation and characterization with a scanning tunneling microscope," Science 286(26 November 1999):1719-1722;

Saw-Wai Hla, Karl-Heinz Rieder, "STM control of chemical reactions: single-molecule synthesis," Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem. 54(2003):307-330.

Silicon/Germanium Mechanosynthesis Tools (Experimental)
R.S. Becker, J.A. Golovchenko, B.S. Swartzentruber, "Atomic-scale surface modifications using a tunneling microscope," Nature 325(1987):419-421.

In-Whan Lyo, Phaedon Avouris, "Field-induced nanometer- to atomic-scale manipulation of silicon surfaces with the STM," Science 253(12 July 1991):173-176.

M. Aono, A. Kobayashi, F. Grey, H. Uchida, D.H. Huang, "Tip-sample interactions in the scanning tunneling microscope for atomic-scale structure fabrication," J. Appl. Phys. 32(1993):1470-1477.

C.T. Salling, M.G. Lagally, "Fabrication of atomic-scale structures on Si(001) surfaces," Science 265(22 July 1994):502-506.

Dehuan Huang, Hironaga Uchida, Masakazu Aono, "Deposition and subsequent removal of single Si atoms on the Si(111)-7x7 surface by a scanning tunneling microscope," J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B 12(July/August 1994):2429-2433.

P. Avouris, "Manipulation of matter at the atomic and molecular levels," Acc. Chem. Res. 28(1995):95-102.

G. Meyer, K.H. Rieder, "Controlled manipulation of single atoms and small molecules with the scanning tunneling microscope," Surf. Sci. 377-9(1997):1087-1093.

Noriaki Oyabu, Oscar Custance, Insook Yi, Yasuhiro Sugawara, Seizo Morita1, "Mechanical vertical manipulation of selected single atoms by soft nanoindentation using near contact atomic force microscopy," Phys. Rev. Lett. 90(2 May 2003):176102;

The work of Ralph Merkle, Robert Freitas, Eric Drexler, Chris Phoenix, Ned Seeman, J Stoors Hall, Zyvex Corp, Nantero, Nanosys Inc, MIT and others should be followed.

Design of a Primitive Nanofactory, Chris Phoenix, 2003

References for space related predictions

The place to start is the Nasa Institute for Advanced Concepts

Some key concepts and work here or which have been available for some time:
Magnetic systems that can utilize the solar wind or use a magnetic plasma.
Advantages: reasonable power levels, does not require megascale engineering
Magbeam, Magbeam reference and plasma magnet

Magbeam can use 3,000t of current batteries or 150t of fuel and 1 ton of MNT fuel cell @ 4000 ISP to accelerate 10 tons of payload to 20 km/s or 72000 km/s

Plasma magnet able to capture solar wind could accelerate 300-800km/s.

Solar sails
We are just starting to make them now. They have slow acceleration.
Nanotechnology allows very fast acceleration.
A close pass slingshot around the Sun (3 solar radii) allows acceleration to up to 13% the speed of light. Such a close pass allows for someone to just make the solar sail and not have to make a giant laser and lens to accelerate the solar sail to fantastic speed.

Current work on ion engines:
The European Space Agency and the Australian National University have successfully tested a new design of spacecraft ion engine that dramatically improves performance over present thrusters and marks a major step forward in space propulsion capability. The new experimental engine, called the Dual-Stage 4-Grid (DS4G) ion thruster, was designed and built under a contract with ESA in the extremely short time of four months by a dedicated team at the Australian National University. The test model achieved voltage differences as high as 30kV and produced an ion exhaust plume that traveled at 210,000 m/s, over four times faster than state-of-the-art ion engine designs achieve.

A hypersonic skyhook is an orbiting tether. It is a pre-cursor to a space elevator. It could reduce launch costs by 4-10 times. A hypersonic plane that can go mach 10-15 would rendezvous with the skyhook and get payload to orbit.

hypersonic skyhook info

detailed hypersonic skyhook study

A lunar tether system we can make and launch now if the funding and motivation were there

another study of a lunar space elevator

Announcements of Japan has lunar ambitions
and the plans of China, India, Europe and the United States.

Antimatter storage is starting to happen now. There is an NIAC study on collecting antimatter that is in the magnetic fields of planets. There are also NIAC studies on efficient systems for using antimatter for propulsion.

Sufficiently strong magnets would allow for a ground-launched system that pushed against the magnetic field of the earth. Room temperature superconductors would likely allow this to happen.

Past system that is technologically feasible is project Orion.

Challenges of Molecular Nanotechnology for Space Exploration, Thomas L. McKendree, Robert A. Freitas Jr., Al Globus, M. Creon Levit, C. David Sherrill , Mo Li and Ralph C. Merkle 2005.

One potential of molecular nanotechnology is to fabricate structural elements for space systems of very high strength-to-weight, including diamond compressive members, nanotube-based tension members, and composite structures of nanotube fibers in a diamond matrix. Diamond has a σ of 5.0 x 1010 Pa with a δ of 3510 kg/m3, and thus a strength to density ratio ~70 times better than Titanium. Nanotubes have a σ of 4.5 x 1010 Pa5 with a δ of 1300 kg/m3, and thus a strength-to-density ratio ~2.4 times better than diamond, but only in tension.
Such materials, if used to reduce parasitic rocket mass, can reduce rocket dry masses by ~98% and thereby triple rocket payloads to Earth orbit. Depending on the cost model, this can improve launch costs by a factor somewhere between 3 and 235

Another potential of molecular nanotechnology is to provide mechanical devices with part sizes down to molecular components. Excluding systems which use such devices to fabricate products by rearranging molecular structures, other application to space exploration has been identified.
Designs in Ref. 4 use tiny motors to individually steer reflective solar concentrators 0.1 mm in diameter. Their small size allows them to hold optic tolerance while presenting 3 x 10-4 kg/m2 of mass per unit area to the Sun, and this raises the specific power to 739 kWe/kg, available for a further factor of 70 improvement in solar-electric ion engines and other purposes. At this level interplanetary trips can take weeks with reaction mass a minority of initial vehicle mass

McKendree, T. L., “A Technical and Operational Assessment of Molecular Nanotechnology for Space Operations,” Ph.D. Dissertation, Industrial and Systems Engineering Dept., Univ. S. Cal., Los Angles, CA, 2001.

Information related to robotics and other misc. predictions

Current and Future materials related

M5 fiber exists now. It is a “designer” fiber, carefully engineered over a 10-year period. It is currently the strongest bulk fiber. Carbon nanotubes have not been able to translate their full strength. M5 will have about 9.5 GPa of strength about one fifth of what carbon nanotubes could potentially have.
A pilot plant should have begun producing M5 fiber in April or May of 2005. When fully operational, the plant's production capacity will be between 20 and 60 metric tons of fiber per year.

More on current fibers

wikipedia on carbon nanotubes
Another carbon nanotube reference

Table 1: Candidate materials for high strength projects like space elevators
Building Material Stress Breaking
Material Density limit Height
ρ, kg/m3 σ, GPa σ/ρg, km
SWCN* 2266 50 2200
T1000G† 1810 6.4 361
Zylon‡ PBO 1560 5.8 379
Spectra¶ 2000 970 3.0 316
M5** 1700 5.7 342
M5 planned 1700 9.5 570
Kevlar†† 49 1440 3.6 255
* Single-wall carbon nanotubes (lab measured)
† Toray carbon fiber
‡ Aramid, Ltd. polybenzoxazole fiber
¶ Honeywell extended chain polyethylene fiber
** Magellan honeycomb-like 3-D polymer
†† DuPont aramid fiber

Gecko tape article from 2003 The manmade gecko tape could allow people to walk on walls and ceilings

Future medicine, longevity and human enhancement related

Stuff related to faking out the senses - false reality

References related to my Quantum computer predictions

A Quantum Information Science and Technology Roadmap, Quantum Information Science and Technology Experts Panel, April 2004.

Scalable quantum computer chip

Dwave systems is a venture funded company Draper Fisher Jurvetsun is the VC They will be rolling out access to a superconducting limited quantum computing capability that will be able to solve large optimization problems.

“Quantum bubbles are the key” 100 qubit system said possible which would mean 10**30 simultaneous calculations, 23-Nov-2005

Articles related to my energy predictions

These are important recent developments for the future of energy in our world.

Mutant Algae Is Hydrogen Factory

MIT labs ultracapacitor article 1
MIT labs ultracapacitor related article 2

The MIT lab thinks that they can increase the energy density of ultracapacitors up to 60Wh/kg by using the nano-tubes and at the same time achieve a power density greater than 100,000W/kg (3 times that of batteries). This post shows some Ragone plots of energy density vs power density of capacitors, batteries and fuel cells.

Communication prediction related articles

Articles about
the costs of $890 in 2006 to pass a home or business with a fiber-optic network capable of providing Verizon's advanced FiOS data and video services. This cost, which includes a blend of aerial and underground deployment, had averaged $1,400 at the start of 2005.
Babbio said that at the beginning of 2005 Verizon's fiber network was passing an average of 100,000 premises per month, and by the end of the year it was passing an average of 235,000 premises per month, as the deployment ramped up to its current and ongoing run rate.
It also delivers Internet download speeds of up to 30 Mbps (megabits per second) and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps as well as high-quality voice services. Information about Verizon Internet Service

International broadband report.

South Korea has high broadband penetration and higher speeds of 20+mbps

Article about broadband in the USA and the world
In the United States, the typical broadband connection speed is between 1 and 4 megabits per second (Mbps). In countries such as Japan, South Korea and China, Internet speeds of 100 Mbps are common; in Europe, speeds of 20 Mbps are widely available.
Internet service is cheaper in other countries, too. Many South Koreans pay only $20 a month for their 100-Mbps connections, while Twin Cities residents pay about $45 a month for Time Warner's standard Road Runner service, which connects at less than 4 Mbps -- a level that Hedblom dismisses as "baby broadband."
NTT DoCoMo hits 2.5Gbps in 4G trial

Articles on
Congress works to ease pain of analog TV's death. This will free up wireless bandwidth for high speed wireless communication.

Smart radio and changing the rules of how bandwidth is used would also allow for more usage of wireless technology. More on smart radio

Higher antennas will also boost wireless technology. (HALE High altitude long endurance systems are cheaper satellite alternatives that can be more easily maintained and upgraded)

Fiber business coming out of slump

Some articles about being a Futurist

Companies hire futurists to spot new media and marketing technologies. Futurists need to be deeply insightful about people, groups, markets, business models and business.

New extinction events are arising. My view is that some of these things existed and we just did not know about them. The threat level is not rising by that much, we are just getting a more accurate picture of the actual threat level. I also think that technology can make civilization more robust and better able to survive. So technology is creating new dangers, but is also creating new protection and solutions. Also, it is not just technology but processes and better understanding of what is happening.

For example, we are safer from disease from drugs but also because of access to clean water and sanitary conditions and public health management.

More statistics related reference sites

References for Demographics, general statistics and Wealth in the world

Government census and statistics agencies
US census bureau
US stats
Statistics Canada
List of international statistics agencies

the Economist magazine, EIU publications and Economist Intelligence Unit

Studies on Wealthy people in the world
World Wealth Report 2005 by Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini

High-Net-Worth Wealth Grows Strongly at Over 8 Percent, Surpassing $30 Trillion in 2004, According to Merrill Lynch and Capgemini

World Wealth Report 2005 the number of “Millionaires” Grows by over 7% to 8.3 million worldwide

Forbes Magazine

Another one of my longer article/essays to appear in the monthly nanotech-now report

Last month an essay that I wrote on what will happen to employment after nanofactories are created appeared in the February nanotech-now report.

In March, an essay about predicting the future and a set of predictions that I made will appear in the nanotech-now report.

Over several articles on this site I will post up references that relate to my predictions. Things like demographic reference sites or studies on wealth and technology studies or announcements of research.

March 02, 2006

The Past, now and soon versus better and longer term

there is an interesting article at a longevity site.

It discusses what happened with Drexler and MNT.

The attacks on Drexler - and on advanced nanomedicine at one point -
were really quite beyond the pale. It was all a part of short-termist
posturing on the part of certain pigs scrabbling at the government
trough; pretty despicable stuff. Do prominent advocates for radical
life extension have this sort of thing to look forward to in the

An analogous scenario for scientific anti-aging research would be if
the moderates prosper - say that metabolic tinkering, an outgrowth of
calorie restriction research, expands into a large industry with the
real promise of 10 or 20-year healthy life extension. The industry
spawned by these moderates, bolstered by publicity and public
enthusiasm, then starts after major government funding ... but they
decide that they need those darned advocates for radical life
extension technologies - far beyond 10 or 20 year increases - to go
away and stop scaring the fishes.

I think that a similar situation happened and continues to happen with space and many other technologies. The chemical rocket industry gained some success and potentially far superior approaches got shunted aside or receive little support. Watch now how the screwed up Space shuttle programs sucks the money out of all space research.

Nuclear fusion research got success in raising money for magnetic confinement. They get no commercially useful results, but they block others from getting any serious support.

Sometimes it is momentum and infrastructure issues: oil industry versus alternative energy.

We see it with nanotechnology. Carbon nanotubes, nanoscale tech, nanomaterials tries to block the consideration of advanced nanotech.

Some of the ways around this are

- going outlaw garage tech until enough momentum can be gained. (Apple computer versus IBM).

- X-programs for airplanes.

- Large funded Prizes.

What else can or should be done?

Is there a better model for society to follow to best advance
technology? Is there a way to get support and mindshare?

March 01, 2006

'Nano skins'/organized nanotube arrays show promise as flexible electronic devices

Process for creating organized nanotube arrays developed This process could allow polymer/nanotube mixes to retain more of the strength and superior characteristics of nanotubes.

A team of researchers has developed a new process to make flexible, conducting 'nano skins' for a variety of applications, from electronic paper to sensors for detecting chemical and biological agents. The materials combine the strength and conductivity of carbon nanotubes with the flexibility of traditional polymers. The research is described in the March issue of the journal Nano Letters.

"Researchers have long been interested in making composites of nanotubes and polymers, but it can be difficult to engineer the interfaces between the two materials," says Pulickel Ajayan, the Henry Burlage Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. "We have found a way to get arrays of nanotubes into a soft polymer matrix without disturbing the shape, size, or alignment of the nanotubes.

The team has developed a new procedure that allows them to grow an array of nanotubes on a separate platform and then fill the array with a soft polymer. When the polymer hardens, it is essentially peeled back from the platform, leaving a flexible skin with organized arrays of nanotubes embedded throughout.

Computer simulation and lab synthesis find best molecules

Chemistry professor Weitao Yang and two post doctoral associates proposed a computer-assisted way to find novel and superior materials.

"linear combination of atomic potentials" (LCAP), is a property of all molecules. LCAP accounts for energy relationships between electrons and associated nuclei in the atoms making up all possible molecules.

Using LCAP would enable targeted searches for the best molecules exhibiting various key chemical or physical properties. Those searches would quickly sort through all the possible molecular building blocks assembled within a computer-calculated "space" containing the multitude of possible molecules, according to the researchers. The best, or "optimal," candidates for a given use would emerge through a computed process of accepting or rejecting various building block combinations.

February 27, 2006

Self assembly advance: self assembled nanofold network

Efforts to link nanotubes have usually begun with the most familiar kind, cylinders whose structure is equivalent to one or more rolled-up sheets of a layered crystal like graphite. Now researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM) and the Christian Albrechts University of Kiel, Germany, have found a completely new way to form complex networks of nanotubes. The researchers describe their results in the March 3, 2006 issue of Physical Review Letters, now available online. The new method causes extensive hexagonal networks of tubes, intricately branched and connected, to form in less than a second on the surface of a layered crystal. The tubes themselves are prismatic folds, having the cross section of a pitched roof.

A multilayered crystal of vanadium selenide, seen in a field of view roughly as wide as a red blood cell: after enough copper atoms penetrate the uppermost layers of the crystal, a hexagonal network of nanofold tubes appears spontaneously, each tube 30 nanometers across and enclosing an empty space 4 nanometers high.

There are many practical questions as well. Surface nanotube networks suggest numerous applications, including networks of pipes for the storage and transport of minute quantities of materials, or templates for the fabrication of nanowire networks.

"There are many exciting follow-ups to investigate in these systems," says Dahmen, "ranging from whether and how the tubes can be filled with liquids or with metal atoms to form wires, to controlling the sizes and patterns of the networks, to understanding the atomic structure of their junctions."

In previous self-assembly research..there was progress made on targeted self-assembly. Possibly these capabilities could be combined.

Success in nanoscale self-assembly could make the transition to MNT easier by allowing more complex structures to be self assembled and less mechanochemistry to be required to "finish" a MNT product. More capability could be available sooner. If there was a progression in the number of mechanochemistry operations per second that are performed by a particular system or device, then by shifting more operations to more capable self-assembly the threshold for useful mechanochemisty would be reduced and the sooner MNT would be useful.

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