October 07, 2005

World’s smallest universal material testing system created

World’s smallest universal material testing system created

researchers at Northwestern University have designed and built the first complete micromachine that makes possible the investigation of nanomechanics phenomena in real time. The findings are published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The machine, which can fit in tiny spaces as required by in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM), successfully characterized the mechanical properties of nanowires and carbon nanotubes.

The n-MTS developed by Horacio D. Espinosa, professor of mechanical engineering, and his colleagues consists of an actuator and a load sensor fabricated by means of micro technology (a derivative of the computer industry). The load sensor is based on differential capacitive sensing, which provides a load resolution of about 10 nano Newtons. This is the first nanoscale material testing system that provides continuous observation of specimen deformation and failure with sub-nanometer resolution while simultaneously measuring electronically the applied forces with nano-Newton resolution. The integration of electro-mechanical and thermo-mechanical components at the micro scale made the achievement possible.

One of the challenges overcome by the University researchers was the integration of micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and circuits for measurement of electronic signals. They solved this problem by using a double-chip architecture consisting of a MEMS chip and a microelectronic sensing chip.

Another challenge overcome by the team was the mounting of individual nanostructures on the testing device. Using a nanomanipulator inside a dual-beam scanning electron microscope and focused ion beam apparatus (a new tool available to nanoscientists) the researchers picked up nanostructures, cut them to the desired length and nanowelded the structures onto the n-MTS using electron-beam-induced deposition of platinum.

Zyvex current status and plans for atomically precise manufacturing

Zyvex is important for having stated the goal of creating molecular assemblers. James Von Ehr, CEO of Zyvex, has stated that his company has a ten-year plan to build a molecular assembler, that is, a machine system capable of atomically precise manufacturing at the nanoscale. Zyvex had an earlier, even more ambitious plan that they’ve had to revise. (In 2001, they had talked about raising and spending $300M over eight years). The new Zyvex approach will combine top-down work in nanolithography with bottom-up designs in scanning probe depositional chemistry.

Zyvex's Atomically Precised Manufacturing Project currently consists of three coordinated efforts: Micro Automation, Molecularly Precise Tools, and Patterned Atomic Layer Epitaxy.

Some info on how big Zyvex currently is people and moneywise.

Zyvex, which develops tools, material and products from molecular
nanotechnology, has gone from zero revenue three years ago to more
than 80 employees.

July 2005
Zyvex announced financial results for our fiscal 2005 second quarter.
The Company continues to exceed expectations with total revenue for
the second quarter of $3.1 million — a 10 percent increase over plan
and a 70 percent increase over the same period in 2004.

Founded in 1997, Zyvex reported its first revenue in 2001, grossing
$150,000. Company revenue grew to $1.2 million in 2002, $4.3 million
in 2003, and $8.6 million in 2004. Gilmore anticipates that the
company will exceed $10 million in revenue during 2005, achieve
cash-flow break-even by Q1 2006, and become bottom-line profitable by
the end of 2006.

April 2005
Zyvex announced financial results for its fiscal 2005 first quarter on
April 14, 2005. The Company continues its business gains with total
revenues for the first quarter totaling $2.0 Million — a 240 percent
increase over the same period in 2004. International sales accounted
for 11 percent of the quarter's revenue.

My own estimates:
If 20% of revenues went to R&D, Plus grant money then
2004 $ 1.6M + 5M/year in grants
2005 $ 2-3M + 5M/year in grants
2006 $ 3-5M + 5M/year in grants

Advance in buckyball-polymer solar efficiency

Organic solar cells being developed by the team at New Mexico State University and Wake Forest are made of plastic that is relatively inexpensive, flexible, can be wrapped around structures or even applied like paint, said physicist Seamus Curran, head of the nanotechnology laboratory at NMSU.

The level of energy conversion has been a problem for researchers on organic solar technology, with many of them hitting about 3 to 4 percent. But the NMSU/Wake Forest team has achieved a solar energy efficiency level of 5.2 percent. The announcement was made at the Santa Fe Workshop on Nanoengineered Materials and Macro-Molecular Technologies. "This means we are closer to making organic solar cells that are available on the market," Curran said.

Conventional thinking has been that that landmark was at least a decade away. With this group's research, it may be only four or five years before plastic solar cells are a reality for consumers, Curran added.

"Our expectation is to get beyond 10 percent in the next five years," Curran said. "Our current mix is using polymer and carbon buckyballs (fullerenes) and good engineering from Wake Forest and unique NSOM imaging from NMSU to get to that point."

October 06, 2005

Eric Drexler's new design for a carbon transfer tool

Eric Drexler has posted his new design for a carbon transfer tool.

Eric Drexler is of course the originator of key concepts and seminal works in molecular manafacturing. He originated advanced nanotechnology in Engines of Creation and Nanosystems.

He introduces a novel carbon-transfer tool design(named “DC10c”), the first predicted to exhibit key properties in combination.

The abstract is as follows:
Mechanosynthesis of a target class of graphene-, nanotube-, and diamond-like structures will require molecular tools capable of transferring carbon moieties to structures that have binding energies in the range of 1.105 to 1.181 aJper atom (159 to 170 kcal mol−1). Desirable properties for tools include exoergic transfer of moieties to these structures; good geometrical exposure of moieties; and structural, electronic, and positional stability. We introduce a novel carbon-transfer tool design (named by us “DC10c”), the first predicted to exhibit these properties in combination. The DC10c tool is a stiff hydrocarbon structure that binds carbon dimers through strained sigma-bonds. On dimer removal, diradical generation at the dimer-binding sites is avoided by means of pi-delocalization across the binding face of the empty form, creating a strained aromatic ring. Transfer of carbon dimers to each of the structures in the target class is exoergic by a mean energy >0.261 aJper
dimer (>38 kcal mol−1); this is compatible with transfer-failure rates of ∼10−24 per operation at 300 K. We present a B3LYP/6-31G(d,p) study of the geometry and energetics of DC10c, together with discussion of its anticipated reliability in mechanosynthetic applications.

Keywords: Quantum Chemistry, Mechanosynthesis, Graphene, Graphite, Diamond, Nanotube,
Productive Nanosystems, Molecular Manufacturing, Nanotechnology.

Some background:

Some chemistry definitions are here

Long and medium goals in nanotechnology presentation by Ralph Merkle

Theoretical analysis of a carbon-carbon dimer placement tool for diamond mechanosynthesis by Ralph Merkle and Robert Freitas

Hydrogen abstraction tool analysis by Ralph Merkle

Comprehensive molecular assembler reference by Ralph Merkle and Robert Freitas

Other papers by Ralph Merkle

Site recreated

I have recreated this site after the original data was lost by blogger back in July.

I had hoped that the original could be recovered but that has not happened.

So now I have recreated it.

I am hoping that data loss will not happen again.