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January 03, 2012

Mainstream journal review is optimistic about atomically precise nanotechnology

Foresight noted that the Chemical Society Review - "Great expectations: can artificial molecular machines deliver on their promise?" article describes a promising pathway to molecular nanotechnology

The fundamental theory of molecular machines is applied to two questions. (1) Can artificial molecular machines be developed to manipulate or chemically transform other molecular or nanoscale structures? (2) Can artificial molecular machines be assembled into integrated systems that work together to manipulate or fabricate structures at the meso- and macroscopic levels? The overall conclusion of these authors with respect to these two questions is optimistic:

Indeed, nanoscale-based machinery has been envisaged ever since the days of Feynman and today the Feynman’s Grand Prize offers a $250,000 reward to the first persons to create a nanoscale robotic arm, capable of precise positional control. While, in pursuit of this goal, the “top-down” fabrication strategies have so far failed rather dismally, we are convinced that a “bottom-up” approach, utilizing AMMs [artificial molecular machines], can deliver. Engineering a macromolecular architecture capable of robotic function will no doubt be a considerable synthetic challenge. We feel, however, that the time is ripe for such an undertaking—for instance, by combining AMMs with the DNA-origami materials, such that the former would provide the actuation within precisely folded DNA nanoscaffolds of the latter.


The original article was reviewed here in November.




On the horizon lie new types of “mechanized” enzyme-like mimicks, addressable nanomaterials, nanorobots, and possibly more into the bargain.


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