[extropy-chat] NANOTECH: Lasers can help

Robert J. Bradbury bradbury at aeiveos.com
Wed Apr 21 15:41:15 UTC 2004

I've submitted the following to nanodot.org but it may not show up for
discussion for a day or two.  It is interesting that it just appeared
given recent conversations between Chris, Mike and myself...  Sometimes
the universe just hands you stuff on a silver platter (and it isn't
a head) [those unfamiliar with Monty Python won't get that one] ;-).

The Univ. of Michigan has announced [1] the ability to do nanoscale milling
(down to 20nm) using ultra-short laser pulses.  Interestingly according to
the abstract they aren't exactly sure how it works.  This is a new approach
to top-down nanotechnology (lithography is also top-down and is currently
pushing towards 70nm).  In contrast biotechnology, mechanosynthesis and
complex chemical methods can be considered bottom-up methods.  From a
size scale perspective 20nm is slightly smaller than a ribosome and
roughly the diameter of Eric's nanomanipulator arm described in Nanosystems
(Figure 13.11).  So a top-down milling machine methodology might allow
the production of a scaled-up nanomanipulator arm which in turn could
be used to produce increasingly smaller versions of itself.

1. http://www.spacedaily.com/news/nanotech-04y.html
2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov:80/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15071188

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