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« Perspective on Social Change | Main | Advanced Human Intelligence »

August 09, 2005


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I'm thinking today of the progress we've made over the years and of the progress yet to be made. I just reviewed again the manufacturing film link and watched the short film on a molecular manufacturing tabletop device. Terribly interesting and I recommend highly. At this point I would like to discuss the current state of affairs as to chemical reactions usable within the molecular manufacturing device. They mentioned specifically a molecule containing two carbon atoms and two hydrogen atoms. One question I would have is this molecule a feedstock element and doesn't exist normally in quantities in the environment. That is to say is this molecule a molecule left over from combustion engines or freely available within some widely available material such as oil, coal, water, silicon. Or is this molecule one that will need to be created in a proceeding step before manufacture can begin within the assembler.

Following that train of thought what is the general conception on the amount of energy that will be needed for sake of discussion her kilogram of a product in regards to production of a feedstock element ? The video also comments that each individual building block can be produced in a wide variety of shapes. I believe it also says it can be produced in a wide variety of materials although carbon is the only one mentioned in the beginning of the film. Perhaps an additional feedstock element is also available to the assembler is to produce other building blocks to be used to produce products. In the past we have discussed the possibility of using silicon, aluminum, copper, and carbon. There may have been other elements discussed as I've not followed the arguments throughout the entire time frame.

From the chemical standpoint than we're left with a reaction to remove the two carbon molecules. An additional reaction to release the carbon molecule from the tool tip. And perhaps one or two other reactions depending on how a single molecule is removed from the cloud of molecules and how the first or second or third generation cubes are joined to form the next larger cube. This would appear to me to be a fantastically small number of chemical reactions given the availability of the feedstock.

So at this point we have a situation where each of these reactions will need to be tested and some sort of benchmark established to what a reliable method of performing each of the reactions at the given scale. Undoubtedly there is additional information that can be obtained on the Internet by myself and others attaining to each of these reactions and the current state of testing. I would be interested in any links anyone has two universities or companies performing this work so that I might review.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Todd, the feedstock shown in the movie is acetylene. It's not normally found in nature, being a somewhat unstable (high-energy) molecule. But it's made in industrial quantities as a welding gas.

Drexler has published a paper or two on these reactions.


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