Somehow, amidst all the activity at CRN, we overlooked Chris Phoenix's science essay from June. It was sent out in our C-R-Newsletter #42, but not posted here at the blog.
This article reviews the historical steps leading to today's most advanced nanofactory concepts, and it explains why CRN uses the nanofactory as the basis for talking about molecular manufacturing.
History of the Nanofactory Concept By Chris Phoenix, Director of Research
When CRN talks about molecular manufacturing, we usually focus on one particular implementation: a nanofactory. A nanofactory is basically a box with a whole lot of molecular manufacturing machines inside; feedstock and energy go in, and products come out. But why do we focus on nanofactories? Where did the idea come from? I'll tackle the second question first. . .
Sorry for making you wait so long!