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« Consider What Might Happen | Main | Bright, Green and Tough »

September 08, 2005

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Janessa Ravenwood

Hmmm...as a cryonicist, I call this interesting news.

Mike Deering

here is a link to a picture of the machine.

http://tinyurl.com/822h9

Mike Deering

sorry, here is the link I intended to post:

http://tinyurl.com/cr89e


Chris Phoenix, CRN

Janessa, the machine has to work with samples in the form of thin (100 nm) needles. This is probably OK if you want to do research on the fine structure of synapses. But if you're thinking of scanning an entire brain, think again. Not only would lossless sample prep be a near-insurmountable problem, but the machine weighs several kilograms and scans half a picogram per year.

Chris

Mike Deering

Looks like this is one small step away from the first practical molecular assembler.

Phillip Huggan

LEAP's capabilities blow away the competition. But when someone builds one that runs in reverse, is when the MM age will truly be dawning. Chris, did Imago tell you the price of this device? (don't know why toolmakers never list prices on their websites)

Chris Phoenix, CRN

I didn't ask about the price.

I don't know if it's possible to build one that runs in reverse. Hm...

But that would be a rather different tool. It would have to dispense one atom at a time, probably from a fine-grained array of locations. And it would have to not only deposit the atoms, but make the bonds form correctly. And it would be difficult to build non-solid structures (though you could probably deposit xenon gas to maintain a hemisphere, then boil it off later; xenon BP is 165 K). And there may be some fundamental physics reason why the flight path is not precisely reversible.

So no, it is nothing like an assembler.

Chris

Janessa Ravenwood

Chris: Oh, well. Maybe it'll lead to some more cryonics-applicable technologies.

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