US National Science Foundation

Speaking of US government programs to advance nanomanufacturing, Christine Peterson sends word of a US National Science Foundation nanomanufactring program that explicitly mentions nanorobots and other nanomachines “The NSF Nanomanufacturing Program“:

… The NSF Nanomanufacturing Program supports fundamental research in novel methods and techniques for batch and continuous processes, top-down (addition/subtraction) and bottom-up (directed self-assembly) processes leading to the formation of complex heterogeneous nanosystems. The program supports basic research in nanostructure and process design principles, integration across length-scales, and system-level integration. The Program leverages advances in the understanding of nano-scale phenomena and processes (physical, chemical, electrical, thermal, mechanical and biological), nanomaterials discovery, novel nanostructure architectures, and new nanodevice and nanosystem concepts. It seeks to address quality, efficiency, scalability, reliability, safety and affordability issues that are relevant to manufacturing. To address these issues, the Program encourages research on processes and production systems based on computation, modeling and simulation, use of process metrology, sensing, monitoring, and control, and assessment of product (nanomaterial, nanostructure, nanodevice or nanosystem) quality and performance.

The Program seeks to explore transformative approaches to nanomanufacturing, including but not limited to: micro-reactor and micro-fluidics enabled nanosynthesis, bio-inspired nanomanufacturing, manufacturing by nanomachines, additive nanomanufacturing, hierarchical nanostructure assembly, continuous high-rate nanofabrication such as roll-to-roll processing or massively-parallel large-area processing, and modular manufacturing platforms for nanosystems. The Program encourages the fabrication of nanomaterials by design, three-dimensional nanostructures, multi-layer nanodevices, and multi-material and multi-functional nanosystems. Also of interest is the manufacture of dynamic nanosystems such as nanomotors, nanorobots, and nanomachines [emphasis added], and enabling advances in transport and diffusion mechanisms at the nano-scale. …

The description of the program is broad enough to cover numerous topics relevant to both the integration of current nanomaterials and nanodevices into near-term nanofabricated products across a wide range of applications, and progress toward productive nanosystems and atomically precise manufacturing. It will be interesting to see what research actually gets funded by this program.
—James Lewis, PhD