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Tutorial review of artificial molecular machines

Foresight Update 25.01—January 8, 2012
ISSN 1078-9731

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For Fraser Stoddart's roadmap for development of artificial molecular machine systems and winning of the Foresight Institute Feynman Grand Prize, see the story below titled "Tutorial review of the promise of artificial molecular machines".

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Artificial molecular motor controls molecular transformation

An important milestone in the development of nanotechnology leading to atomically precise manufacturing (molecular manufacturing) is the development of artificial molecular machines that can control molecular transformations. Two scientists from the University of Groningen, Netherlands, published a paper in Science [abstract] earlier this year demonstrating control of a chemical reaction by an artificial molecular machine. …

Arrays of artificial molecular machines could lead to atomically precise nanotechnology

… to learn what the authors think about the prospects of eventually doing atomically precise manufacturing with artificial molecular machine systems.

The authors begin with the observation that, despite “remarkable progress” in synthesizing molecular switches, there have been only few and very rudimentary examples of harvesting useful work from such molecular switches. They then ask whether only incremental progress will be necessary for artificial molecular machines to achieve the levels of function so elegantly achieved by biological molecular machines, or whether some paradigm shift in thinking will be necessary (they believe the latter). …

RNA CAD tool for synthetic biology may facilitate RNA nanotechnology

New computer assisted design (CAD) tools for engineering RNA components have been developed for the growing field of synthetic biology. The knowledge of RNA folding and RNA catalytic and binding functions incorporated into these CAD tools may also prove useful for RNA nanotechnology. …

Mechanical pressure produces atomically-precise, multifunctional 2D sheets

A few months ago the use of designed peptides to build supramolecular structures on surfaces was reported. Another group has now reported making two-dimensional atomically precise sheets using peptoids, a class of peptide mimetics in which the side chain is attached to the backbone nitrogen atom instead of to the alpha carbon atom. …

Christine Peterson on current state and future potential of nanotechnology

Foresight Co-Founder and Past President: Christine L. Peterson was interviewed in the magazine “Future by Semcon”, published by Semcon, “a global technology company active in the areas of engineering services and product information.” The four-page article “Infinite nanotech possibilities” … presents a very succinct and easy overview of the current state and future potential of nanotechnology. …

A molecular switch with a single proton switched by a single electron

The repertoire of potentially useful molecular switches continues to grow as the components that do the switching shrink. A team of German physicists has used a single electron from the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope to transfer a single proton among one of four not quite equivalent positions in the inner cavity of a porphyrin molecule anchored to a silver surface. …

Turning nanoparticles into multicomponent three-dimensional nanostructures

The application to colloidal nanoparticles of traditional chemical techniques for controlled corrosion and plating has produced complex multicomponent three-dimensional nanostructures that, while not atomically precise, exhibit a wide range of designed porous and multichamber nanostructures. …

Tutorial review of the promise of artificial molecular machines

A tutorial review … asks whether artificial molecular machines can deliver the performance that visionaries expect. …

—Nanodot posts by James Lewis.

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Foreseeing Future Technologies

Advancements in technologies such as nanotech, robotics, and biotech are promising to make major differences in our lives in the not-too-distant future, as the Industrial Revolution did to the agrarian world — to do for the physical world what the computer and Internet have done to the world of information.

Since 1986, the Foresight Institute has been in the forefront of a worldwide community of visionaries who work to help shape these possibilities into a positive, beneficial reality. If you would like to help us understand the potential of these technologies, and influence their direction, please consider becoming a member of the Foresight community. With your support, Foresight will continue to educate the general public on these technologies and what they will mean to our society.

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