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October 27, 2010

What is the Optimal Bootstrapping Pathway Beyond Zyvex's 3D Atomically Perfect Layers of Silicon Nanotechnology ?

Zyvex Labs is making progress to realize their vision of Atomically Precise Manufacturing

The funding and work at Zyvex has been covered extensively on this site.

Nextbigfuture's Sander Olson interviewed the founder of Zyvex (Jim Von Ehr) earlier this year.

At the AVS Symposium 2010, John Randall (VP of Zyvex Labs presented their progress.

Zyvex Labs researchers have demonstrated removal of 50 hydrogen atoms per second

There are many paths to scale-up, including parallelism. A thousand-fold increase in speed will be fairly easy to achieve.

Within seven years, Randall expects that Zyvex Labs will be selling initial production tools that can remove more than a million hydrogen atoms a second using 10 parallel tips at a cost of about $2,000 per cubic micrometer of added silicon (48 billion atoms).

From the Jim Von Ehr interview -
we ultimately want to be able to employ trillions of tips so that we can adopt the massively parallel approach that nature uses when it makes biological nanostructures. Von Ehr hopes to have a primitive nanotechnology system that can create blocklike objects by 2015 and rudimentary molecular manufacturing by 2020. The big game-changer to my mind is Digital Matter. For enzymes, catalysts, and increasingly even for transistors, every atom has to be in the correct place in order for the molecule or component to function. Although we are not as proficient in engineering at that level as we want to be, we are clearly getting closer and closer to that level of capability.

Combining Randall's and Von Ehr projections then sometime after 2018 (perhaps before 2025) Zyvex would want to scale to trillions of tips that perform millions of hydrogen atom removals per second. This would get to perhaps several micro-moles and perhaps a millimole of atomic operations per second. A mole is 6.02 ×10^23.

How to advance beyond those capabilities ?
How to enable atomically precise manufacturing using other materials ?
How to bootstrap to a more advanced molecular nanotechnology capability ?
Perhaps combining better self assembly, graphene, carbon nanotubes, DNA nanotechnology and other emerging capabilities with what Zyvex is working on.

Talk - Atomic Precision Fabrication Using Patterned Si Atomic Layer Epitaxy: Processing Capabilities, Throughput Limitations, and Applications





Atomically precise Si fabrication technology is being pursued via atomic-precision, H-depassivation lithography with a scanning tunneling microscope (STM) and silicon atomic layer epitaxy (ALE). The details of this process and progress towards its realization are published elsewhere. In this presentation we will cover the expected process capabilities, throughput limitations, applications that will be feasible in spite of these limitations, extensions of the processing capabilities, and paths to scaleup of the throughput. Initially the fabrication process will involve simply patterned homo-epitaxy of Si on Si surfaces, but will allow arbitrary three dimensional structures with some design rules imposed by the Si lattice.The limitations imposed by the physics of the H depassivation lithography and the need for repeated patterning is the principal process bottleneck and leads to estimations of a cost per unit volume of atomically precise fabricated material that seems extremely high. However, the ability to create structures with atomic precision will enable very valuable applications and products that can be cost effectively manufactured in the relatively near term. This process, which can be conceived of as spatially controlled deprotection, appears to be general enough to adapt to the large number of materials that may be deposited with ALE or atomic layer deposition (ALD). Further, there are clear paths to scaling up the process via MEMS-based STM scanner arrays that would significantly widen the range of products and applications resulting from this Atomically Precise Manufacturing technology.

Single silicon quantum dots have already been made by Canadian researchers.

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