[ExI] Smalley vs. Drexler & 3 Dimensions

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Fri Jan 22 16:30:34 UTC 2016

On Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 9:23 PM, <natasha at natasha.cc> wrote:

​ ​
One of my students ask if Drexler or anyone offered an engineering solution
to Smalley’s juggling (Rotman, 1999) issue that nanorobots would have to
deal with three dimensions of control while maintaining atoms? Students are
having a fascinating discussion on the seminal debate and I simply don’t
have knowledge on this juggling issues.

The importance of the number of reactants lies in Smalley’s argument that
“There just isn’t enough room in the nanometer-size reaction region to
accommodate all the fingers of all the manipulators necessary to have
complete control of the chemistry.” [...]
​ ​
The argument collapses when we observe that chemical reactions often
involve two reactants, such as in the controlled vacuum conditions used by
the scanning tunneling microscope (STM). Two reactants can be brought
together with controlled trajectories if one reactant is bound to a
substrate and the second reactant is positioned and moved by a single
“finger” as has already been done experimentally. For example, Ho and Lee
physically bound a CO molecule to an iron atom on a silver substrate using
an STM. Other approaches are also possible, Brenner et al. provided a
molecular dynamics simulation of the hydrogen abstraction reaction from a
diamond substrate."



John K Clark
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