"Nanofactories: Glimpsing the future of process technology" is the cover story in the current issue of CleanRooms magazine. Bruce Flickinger writes:
Nanofactories -- manufacturing systems that work on the atomic scale -- are gradually moving from science fiction to science fact and one day could be used to build all manner of items such as drugs, semiconductor chips and even cell-sized robots that patrol the human body. But researchers first need to learn how to build a nanofactory, which means learning how to build the molecular components that will power it. With mounting theoretical and experimental evidence, proponents say these goals are within reach and will usher in a revolution in high-technology manufacturing.
The well-written article goes into some depth about precise molecular components, mechanosynthesis, contamination issues, manufacturing throughput, and more, including an overview of the benefits. Ralph C. Merkle, professor of computer science in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology, Robert A. Freitas Jr., senior research fellow at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing, and CRN's Director of Research Chris Phoenix all are quoted at length.