They talk with Mark Sims of Nanorex.
Where the real innovation and excitement is from a nanomanufacturing perspective is in the bottom up category. Here we’re dealing with synthesizing molecules or components which are made out of atoms, in a variety of techniques—traditional chemical synthesis, more advanced new methods of creating molecules like carbon nanotubes, dendrites, and other structures that have thousands or millions of atoms in them, into these atomically precise products.
Nanoink makes dip pen nanolithography (DPN) tools. They said:
DPN can directly write materials using different molecular inks that directly transfer from a tip to a substrate. In another instance, those inks could be resists, so the dip pen could be used in a way similar to photolithography to pattern a resist on a substrate, and then to etch three-dimensional structures. Probably one of the most interesting and powerful ways that you can use dip pen nanolithography is to use it as a templating tool, to put down a substance that can act as a pattern for directed self assembly. This is the approach that’s used to fabricate structures in a controllable manner with nanotubes, nanoparticles, and other even biomolecules to produce nanoscale structures.
[Near term commercialization] NanoInk is helping the pharmaceutical industry prevent counterfeiting and diversion of drugs by fabricating nanoscale structures on individual doses of pharmaceutical products. This technology is now being developed with two of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. In addition to nano encryption we are also exploring additive repair for photo masks and thin film transistors on LCD panels.
Zyvex’s Von Ehr said:
The key differentiator at Zyvex is the precision and the hierarchical scale. We want to make atomically precise materials at the very smallest scale, the nanoscale, put those together into larger subassemblies, and build up to the microscale, then put those together in larger assemblies in what we’re calling the meso or the millimeter scale, and build larger and larger assemblies, but have atomic precision all the way down to the atoms, and all the way up to large things, things potentially as large as a car or even a house someday. We probably won’t design that with atomic precision, but the parts that go in it will be manufactured in high volume and then put together in assemblies.
Tihamer T. Toth-Fejel talks about scaling from one nanomachine:
Take one relatively simple nanomachine that can make a less complicated version of itself. It’s not quite self replication, but basically it takes an input stream… it’s like a machine shop. Using a machine shop you can make an assembly line, so you make an assembly line. What kind of machines do you have there? You have an assembly line of primitive, single use machines that all they can do is make one other different kind of machine shop, like a lathe, a drill and a saw, for example. So you have an entire line of them. Then you take this line, and normally when we think of an assembly line we think of putting pieces on the front end and it gets assembled down the line. What we want is an assembly line that builds things in two dimensions, that builds a plane of devices. That’s how we get to a billion devices. You start with one nanomachine; call it a master maker that builds a nanoline. The nanoline builds a membrane. What the membrane does is, it accepts molecular parts that are made using synthetic chemistry, which we can do today, and assembles them into whatever product you want.