History of nanofactories
When CRN talks about molecular manufacturing, we tend to focus on a specific implementation: a nanofactory. But why do we think about nanofactories? Where does that idea come from? I will answer the second question first.
Richard Feynman is often spoken of as the founder of nanotechnology, although the word itself did not exist until several decades after his famous "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" speech in 1959. In that speech, Feynman proposed that machines they could build smaller machines, and so on until the smaller ones worked with atomic precision, "manipulating things atom by atom." Materials could be built under direct control: "Make the substance by putting the atoms right where the chemist says."
On the way to this goal, he says, "I want to build a billion tiny factories, models of others, that manufacture simultaneously ...". However, these factories should be on the border between microtechnology and nanotechnology, with individual machines larger than 100 nanometers. The manipulation of atoms will come "finally, in the distant future."
Read the rest of Chris Phoenix's article here: crnano.org
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