Freitas and Merkle Champion the Diamondoid Path which Drexler Now Downplays

Eric Drexler, one of the primary originators of many of the concepts of molecular nanotechnology, has written an article which clarifies his position on diamond based molecular nanotechnology.

Robert Freitas and Ralph Merkle and others in the Nanofactory Collaboration have written a response indicating why they have chosen the direct to diamondoid development path.

Our assessment is that diamondoid mechanosynthesis (DMS), including highly-parallelized atomically-precise diamondoid fabrication, is the quickest currently feasible route to a mature molecular nanotechnology, including nanofactories.

We do not think that DMS is a “necessary first step” for molecular manufacturing, and we wish the best of luck to those pursuing other paths. However, we do think DMS is a highly desirable first step, since it offers a much faster route to mature nanosystems than competing approaches. We disagree with the statement that “diamond synthesis seems almost irrelevant to progress toward advanced nanosystems.” We have a favorable view of the feasibility of the direct-to-DMS approach – a favorable view supported by hundreds of pages of detailed analysis in recently-published peer-reviewed technical journal papers and by gradually-evolving mainstream opinion.

Drexler position:

Some widespread ideas about research objectives [towards Modular Molecular Composite Nanosystems”]

-are bad
-seem absurd to most scientists
-are inconsistent with my ideas and publications
-are nonetheless widely attributed to me
I really dislike ideas like these, and all the more so when the ideas have spawned a jumble of misconceptions that impede progress. Some ideas about diamond synthesis are are in this category.

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It does seem like high volume cheaper Multi wall nanotubes will result. The gotchas is they have not made a high volume factory yet and it does not seem to do single wall nanotubes and it is not clear how well this would help to make pure nanotubes, but it should help for a lot of composite situations.


Is there a catch? This looks like a big story.