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Progress Towards Assembler Construction
at Zyvex

J.M. Michelsen, J.R. Von Ehr II*, and M.J. Dyer

251 West Renner Parkway, Suite 166
Richardson, TX 75080

This is an abstract for a talk given at the
Fifth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology.
The full paper is available at


Among the most pressing problems in molecular manufacturing research today is devising means to construct atomically precise moving parts under programmable control, in other words, building the components essential to the operation of an assembler. Several strategies for doing this have been proposed, including protein engineering, scanning probe microscope (SPM) placement of building blocks via antibody grippers, and ambient or vacuum placement of surface bonded building blocks or individual atoms. Construction not only of static three dimensional structures is required, but also that of tight, non-reactive sliding interfaces to make up bearings, actuators and other articulating components.

A prime constraint in constructing atomically precise interfaces is the limitation to the operations of a single sub-angstrom positioning device. Unlike conventional manufacturing where multiple arms can fit objects into interfaces in three dimensions, products made by SPM must be mostly layer-by-layer constructions. A similar constraint can be seen in autofab laser resin curing, where a scaffolding must be built up around moving parts to immobilize them. To produce interfaces where the space between parts is measured in tenths of an angstrom it seems necessary both to be able to continuously add and remove small interface joiners or spacers during the construction process, and to fit intermediate parts into holes and bond them using these joiners. Schemes for addition and removal of joiners in ambient and vacuum conditions will be presented, as well as methods for fitting components with only one positional device, while retaining imaging capability. These considerations are discussed in a proposed construction of a double tripod positional device by SPM based mechanosynthesis.

*Correspondence Address:
James R. Von Ehr II, 251 West Renner Parkway, Suite 166, Richardson, TX 75080, ph: 972-235-7881, fax: 972-235-7882, email:


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