May 20, 2009

A Bad Week For Those Who Deny Molecular Nanotechnology or Accelerating Technology or the Tech Singularity

This weeks news makes it a tough week to deny technology acceleration or an eventual technological Singularity. It is looking far more certain that a very powerful three dimensional DNA/RNA/Protein Nanotechnological capability is emerging and that nanotechnology will be integrated with carbon nanotubes and nanoparticle metal and can be used to bootstrap precise control and structures with carbon and metals:

DNA wrapped carbon nanotubes for artificial tissue

Two ways to make large scale three dimensional structures out of DNA

One from Harvard, which appears more flexible and robust.

DNA boxes from Danish Aarhus university

DNA used to assemble sheets of metal nanoparticles, which could be the basis of nancircuits and could be integrated with the 3D nanotech.

Large scale 3D nanotech with DNA that is integrated with carbon nanotubes, diamond nanorods, nanoparticle metal, graphene and other DNA compatible chemistry.

DNA can detect pathogens and be used for drug delivery (any of the 3D structure methods can be adapted for these purposes)

RNA can modified (change its charge) so that it reliably enter cells for drug delivery.

Ultrathin diamond nanorods - just twice as thick as the diamond rod logic for molecular computers that Drexler discussed. Note: the diamond nanorods are still bulk technology and do not have the molecular precision needed to make the molecular rod logic, but we are getting into the size range.

Does the above list look like news for a place that is within say 20-30 years of a Singularity or place where a Singularity will not happen ?

The DNA structures have begun to be edited into replicating DNA and trillions of copies produced in customized cells (this was done using the crossbar structure of Ned Seeman). There are other ways to synthesize and scale up and lower the costs of DNA nanotech. there are active structures in the lab as well.

2D precision in the 6 nanometer feature size range and 3D in the 10-100 nanometer range.

George Church believes he can make structured DNA for dollars per kilogram.

George lays out a roadmap synthesize DNA material for dollars per kilogram of DNA. This price is about a billion times cheaper than current costs for synthesizing DNA.

George Church notes two key requirements for implementation:

1. Engineering of [more efficient] nucleotide synthesis: George Church and his team are collaborating with Philippe Marliere on optimizing metabolic pathways to the synthesis of the four dNTPs in vivo.
2. DNA secretion: This is a natural process in some bacteria, could be enhanced to prevent (potentially toxic) levels of DNA in vivo.

Can these developments continue and be brought to a large scale and commercialized ?

This is not talking about some kind of mathematical projection of capabilities on a graph. It is plugging specific gaps in technical capability and integrating several separate proven in the lab projects. There is also the other guided self assembly capabilities.

Is it wild fantasy to expect that this work will make an impact outside of the lab within ten years ? twenty years ? That the tens of millions to billions of dollars being spent in multiple countries will be able to bear fruit ?

What would be the issue where we would be unable to advance from three dimensional DNA structures, with nanoparticle metals, carbon nanotubes, diamond nanorods, graphene to fullblown molecular nanotechnology ? How close would the only molecularly precise nanotechnology in some cases be to the real deal ? How powerful would the computing and electronics be with precise 3D structures of carbon nanotubes and graphene and metal nanoparticles ? The 3D structures with near molecular precision would make pretty damn good photonic communication structures. If 2D onchip photonics can be used to give zettaflop supercomputers then full 3D would give 1000 zettaflops or more.

A candidate for reversible computer memory (lower energy/less heat and able to last a billion years) was also announced this week.

We would also have more advanced atomic layer deposition and expitaxy. Zyvex is working on atomic control of the deposition.

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