In his latest CRN Science & Technology Essay, Chris Phoenix writes:
This month's science essay is prompted by several questions about nanofactories that I've received over the past few months. I'll discuss the way in which nanofactories combine nanoscale components into large integrated products; the reason why a nanofactory will probably take about an hour to make its weight in product; and how to cool a nanofactory effectively at such high production rates.
In current nanofactory designs, sub-micron components are made at individual workstations and then combined into a product. This requires some engineering above and beyond what would be needed to build a single workstation. . .
In the years I have spent thinking about nanofactory design, I have not encountered any problem that could not be addressed with standard engineering. Of course, engineering in a new domain will present substantial challenges and require a lot of work. However, it is not safe to assume that some unexpected problem will arise to delay nanofactory design and development. As work on enabling technologies progresses, it is becoming increasingly apparent that nanofactories can be addressed as an integration problem rather than a fundamental research problem. Although their capabilities seem futuristic, their technology may be available before most people expect it.
Read the full essay here.