View Full Version : Nanotechnology

02-06-2007, 10:47 PM
An essay on nanotech (http://www.rso.cornell.edu/scitech/archive/95spr/ntek.html), by someone at Cornell. Wicked.

04-07-2007, 07:06 PM
That is neat! I was just reading about quantum dots, and this reminded me of it. Thanks for the link.

04-07-2007, 07:30 PM
This guy "wrote the book" on nanotechnology. It's a couple decades old, but if you're interested, this book (click on the cover to read, or get a print copy most anywhere) is the starting point, and what I've read since is only incremental progress toward the goal (I'm hoping this isn't another Fusion Power thing that's "only ten years away" for the next 50 years):

04-07-2007, 07:40 PM
It spells doom for us all! The Great Grey Goo Apocalypse!

04-07-2007, 08:13 PM
Very cool. I will try to find those books. I remember a boy in high school used to go on and on about nontechnology and at the time I was not interested. I was too preoccupied with whoever I was dating at the time. I'm so shallow, *sigh*.

I started this morning obsessing on sound waves (I wanted to know more about accoustics and the bit about black holes humming was really interesting) which progressed into light and then I ended up wondering about whether quantum dots could be used as really efficient solar panels for the outsides of spaceships...the mind is wandering all over today. Now if I could stick with a topic long enough to absorb more of it maybe I'd learn something.

04-10-2007, 08:43 PM
I read this article today -
and this one -

I hope the links work. The article about translating vibrations into electricity got me interested because I've been obsessing on sound waves recently. I'm so obsessed that I keep mentioning I'm obsessing.

04-11-2007, 12:39 AM
Piezoelectric devices are very cool. That there is the possibility (probability, even?) of nanomachines that generate their own power (perhaps in presence of a certain frequency of ultrasound) is very cool.

The biodetector is very cool, too. Look out, Doctor House! A machine will soon replace you. :D

Thanks for the links, laurel

04-11-2007, 01:55 AM
Just in the interest of history and resources, here's an AFRL link (http://qubit.plh.af.mil/RelatedArticles/related/Feynman59.pdf) (PDF) to a transcript from a guy that may have taken the first real look at nanotech. Here's the link's first introductory paragraph:

This transcript of the classic talk that Richard Feynman gave on December 29th 1959 at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society (http://www.aps.org/) at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) ( http://www.caltech.edu/) was first published in the February 1960 issue of Caltech's Engineering and Science, which owns the copyright. It has been made available on the web at http://nano.xerox.com/nanotech/feynman.html with their kind permission.
If you haven't read "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" you should. Feynman was awesome.

04-11-2007, 04:02 AM
I recall that, and of his two prizes. Someone made the small motor by "conventional" means such as making really tiny wires by rolling them in between sheets of glass, and other such techniques that didn't really push technology.

Feynman was absolutely a "Genius" (the James Gleick bio of that name is really long, but great reading), he certainly would have "written the book" on nanotechnology, even way back then, but he had too many other things to do, such as playing the bongos and pinpointing the source of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.

Here's more info on the two $1,000 prizes he offered at the end of that speech:


Prizes Offered by Richard Feynman

A defining moment in the history of molecular-scale technology was a 1959 speech at the California Institute of Technology by Nobel Laureate physicist Dr. Richard P. Feynman. "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom," he declared in his discussion of the possibilities of molecular-scale engineering. To spur work in that direction, he offered $1,000 prizes from his personal funds to the first person to construct a working electric motor 1/64 inch or less on a side, and to the first person to produce written text at 1/25,000 scale (the size required to print the entire Encyclopedia Britannica on the head of a pin).

The motor prize was claimed in 1960 by an engineer who found a way to construct a very small motor using conventional mechanical techniques. Dr. Feynman had unfortunately set the size limits slightly too large to require breakthrough technology. He paid anyway. The printing challenge took longer; but in 1985 a Stanford University graduate student named Thomas Newman reproduced the first page of Charles Dickens' novel, A Tale of Two Cities, on a page measuring only 1/160 millimeter on a side (20 times smaller than the human eye can see), using electron beam lithography. Dr. Feynman paid that prize enthusiastically, since it had produced technological advance.

04-11-2007, 04:52 PM
Thank you for the links. I think this is so interesting :).
This was interesting as well-
and this is an older article about graphene

04-13-2007, 03:52 AM
Nanotechnology isn't going to "fail like fusion power," because it is not any one thing. If you're wearing stain resistant pants you're already using nanotechnology.

04-13-2007, 04:48 AM
Well, that depends. . .

sorry, couldn't resist

04-13-2007, 05:46 AM
Well, that depends. . .

Ha! Brilliant! You're a whiz kid!

04-13-2007, 06:45 AM
You can only avoid so many stains....

04-13-2007, 07:00 AM
Nanotechnology isn't going to "fail like fusion power," because it is not any one thing. If you're wearing stain resistant pants you're already using nanotechnology.
That's not nanotechnology as I understand it (Drexler uses the term molecular nanotechnology to try to avoid this type of misinterpretation). Nanotechnology means controlling and moving atoms one at a time. Here are some early examples:

04-13-2007, 08:08 AM
That's a public misperception then. Drexler first envisioned having structures built atom by atom, kind of like normal factories but with the parts being atoms. However, he corrected himself saying how unlikely - and unnecessary - that was. The more likely step is self assembly - exposing a mixture or solution to certain controlled forces so that they automatically form the shapes you want. Besides that's hardly the only sort of nanotech. Basically, any technology that exploits a unique effect you see only at the molecular level is considered nanotechnology. Quantum dots are definitely nanotech, so are applications of nanofluidics, such as lab-on-a-chip, molecular electronics, cancer targeting nanoparticles, etc.

04-13-2007, 03:38 PM
I thought Quantum dots were really cool. If I can find some of the links I had about those I'll post them here later. If you created something complex using self assembling nanotechnology would that behave almost like an organism (versus an innanimate object) in terms of repairing itself? That question isn't really formulated properly, I'm just strapped for time right now and not phrasing things the way I should. (I'm also very sleepy.)