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Computational methods leading toward catalyst design on demand

Foresight Update 25.08—August 14, 2012
ISSN 1078-9731

NoMOS: A Regime for Fabricating Atomically Precise, 3-D, Quantum Coupled Electronic Devices That Do Not Need Wired Interconnects

Work by Michelle Simmons shows that it is possible to place single atoms at precise locations on a hydrogen passivated silicon surface, and to build some fundamental quantum devices with the technique. This suggests a way to make 3-D, quantum coupled, atomically precise devices that would be orders of magnitude denser, more energy efficient and faster than current devices. Proceedings of a workshop sponsored by Atomically Precise Manufacturing Consortium, NIST, and Zyvex Labs is available through the link below.


The 2013 Foresight Technical Conference
Illuminating Atomic Precision
January 11-13, 2013
Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel, Palo Alto, CA

Youth Outreach

Foresight Youth Outreach
Summer/Fall 2012 Essay Contest & Literature Program

Nanotech News

Discuss these news stories at

In this issue:

Toward a method to design any needed catalyst?

Early this year we commented on progress in designing an artificial enzyme to catalyze the Diels-Alder reaction, an important cycloaddition reaction in synthetic organic chemistry that had been proposed as one strategy to develop molecular building block for molecular manufacturing. A new understanding of exactly how the Diels-Alder reaction occurs validates computational methods that may lead to the ability to design a protein catalyst for whatever reaction is needed. …

Artificial evolution of enzymes to make novel semiconductors

… University of California, Santa Barbara, scientists have developed synthetic cells that can be used to evolve enzymes that make novel structures not seen in nature of silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide. …

Nanozyme destroys virus in human cells and in mice

… By combining a protein enzyme and a DNA molecule on gold nanoparticles to mimic the gene regulatory mechanism called RNA interference, a "nanozyme" was able to destroy hepatitis C virus in human liver cells and in the livers of mice. …

3D printers as universal chemistry sets for nanotechnology

… For the most part, 3D printers have been used to print solid objects made from plastic. Now chemist Leroy Cronin at Glasgow University is working on making 3D printers print molecules—becoming a universal chemistry set. …

NANOYOU video introduces nanotechnology to students and others

Nanotechnology covers a wide range of topics—from visionary proposals of atomically precise manufacturing a few decades from now to materials available now that have unique and useful properties because their structures are controlled in at least one dimension to a precision of at least 100 nm. Clearly presenting such a diverse group of topics in a brief video is a challenging assignment. …

New online game to design RNA molecules: advancing nanotechnology?

As we pointed out a few months ago, the greater complexity of folding rules for RNA compared to its chemical cousin DNA gives RNA a greater variety of compact, three-dimensional shapes and a different set of potential functions than is the case with DNA, and this gives RNA nanotechnology a different set of advantages compared to DNA nanotechnology as a road towards atomically precise manufacturing. …

SAVE THE DATE: The 2013 Foresight Technical Conference

January 11-13, 2013
Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel, Palo Alto, CA USA

Over 30 speakers will present reviews and research on a wide variety of groundbreaking atomic- and molecular-scale science and technology, interesting intrinsically and for aiding the development of atomically precise technologies, devices and materials. Events will include an opening reception with a special panel discussion on Friday night and the Feynman Prize Awards Banquet on Saturday night. …

Atomically precise nanoparticle provides better drug delivery

The phenomenon of RNA interference offers one of the most promising therapeutic options of the past decade. Small interfering RNA molecules (siRNAs) specifically decrease the expression of a targeted gene by binding to and destroying the messenger RNA produced by that gene. Delivering these siRNAs to where they are needed is, however, a major challenge. Various types of nanoparticles have shown some success, but a new atomically precise nanoparticle made from DNA and RNA offers better targeting and fewer side effects. …

—Nanodot posts by James Lewis.

Foresight Events and News

NoMOS: A Regime for Fabricating Atomically Precise, 3-D, Quantum Coupled Electronic Devices That Do Not Need Wired Interconnects

A meeting was held June 7-8, 2012 at the Mansion on O Street in Washington DC and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD to discuss the possibility of a new approach to fabricating atomically precise devices.
Sponsors: Atomically Precise Manufacturing Consortium, NIST, and Zyvex Labs
Organizers: Richard M. Silver – NIST, ShaChelle Manning – APMC and John N. Randall – Zyvex Labs
Participants: There were approximately 40 participants from 15 institutions from Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.

Purpose: To explore the possibilities for novel devices and devices with improved performance in the evolving device regime being explored by the seminal work of Michelle Simmons and others. This new device regime creates metallic conductor, semiconductor, and insulator regions by deterministic and atomic precision placement of dopant atoms in Si, without metal-oxide-semiconductor interfaces.

Single electron, quantum dot, and single atom transistors, as well as 4 atom wide nanowires, and extremely low noise operation have already been demonstrated. The intention of the workshop was to gather some of the world’s leading device and atomic precision fabrication experts to explore new possibilities in the quantum computing, digital, and analog device areas and the improvements and extensions of atomic resolution processes, fabrication tools, and modeling/design tools that would be required to enable these new devices.

Note that many of the speakers in John Randall's session at our January Technical Conference (see below) participated in this workshop, so this paper is an excellent lead-in for what to expect at the 2013 Foresight Technical Conference.

Full Meeting Report [PDF]

The 2013 Foresight Technical Conference
Illuminating Atomic Precision

January 11-13, 2013
Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel, Palo Alto, CA USA

Conference Co-Chairs
Larry S. Millstein, President, Foresight Institute
J. Fraser Stoddart, Board of Trustees Professor, Northwestern University

Grand Sponsor: The Thiel Foundation
Silver Sponsors: Autodesk, Zyvex Labs

Over 30 leading researchers will present reviews and results on a wide range of research relating to atomic and molecularly precise devices and materials, and their fabrication. The conference will provide an unusually heterogeneous mix of speakers and participants, serving as a catalyst for interdisciplinary dialog and productive collaboration. Sessions and confirmed speakers include –

Atomic Scale Devices
John Randall, Zyvex Labs (Session Chair);
Ezra Bussmann, Sandia National Laboratory
Christian Joachim, CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research)
Gerhard Klimeck, Purdue University (nanoHub and Comp Nano Net)
Philip Moriarty, University of Nottingham
Neil Sarkar, Integrated Scanning Probe Instruments
Richard Silver, National Institutes of Science and Technology (NIST)
Bob Wolkow, University of Alberta

Molecular Machines and Non-Equillibriun Processes
J. Fraser Stoddart, Northwestern University (Session Chair)
Dean Astumian, University of Maine
Ben Feringa, University of Groningen
Miguel Garcia-Garibay, Univeristy of California - Los Angelos
Josef Michl, University of Colorado
Mark A. Ratner, Northwestern University
Edie Sevick, Australian National University

Self Organizing and Adaptive Systems
Lee Cronin, Glasgow University (Session Chair)
Neil Champness, University of Nottingham
Bartosz A. Grzybowski, Northwestern University
Bruno Pignataro, University of Palermo
Oliver Steinbock, Florida State University
Rein Ulijn, University of Strathclyde

Commercially Implemented Single Molecule Technologies
SteveTurner, Pacific Biosciences (Session Chair)
Mark Akeson, UC-Santa Cruz

Computation and Molecular Nanotechnolgies
Alex Wissner-Gross, Harvard and MIT (Session Chair)
Alan Aspuru-Guzik, Harvard University
James Ellenbogen, MITRE Corp.
Gerhard Klimeck, Purdue University (nanoHub and Comp Nano Net)
William Goddard, CalTech

Additional speakers will include the Feynman Prize winners for Theory and for Experiment for both 2011 and 2012, and the winners of the Feynman Student Prizes for 2011 and 2012.

Look for further details on the conference, the speakers and the events in the coming weeks and months. Registration will open in late August.

Foresight Youth Outreach
Summer/Fall 2012 Essay Contest & Literature Program

What keeps young people working on hard problems in science & technology? Research shows it's most often the sustained support of inspiring teachers, mentors, & communities with shared values.

This month, Foresight is targeting the top 300 science, engineering, & entrepreneurially-oriented college clubs, high school STEM teachers, & gifted youth programs across the country … and connecting them with great ideas & people!

We're sending bright young minds the following books by speakers, advisors, & supporters of the Foresight community (organizations sponsoring individual book donations are in parentheses):

Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think - Peter Diamandis (XPrize Foundation)
Engines of Creation - K Eric Drexler (Foresight Institute)
Imagine Design Create - Tom Wujec (AutoDesk)
The Singularity Is Near - Ray Kurzweil (KurzweilAI, SingularityU)
Ending Aging - Aubrey deGrey (SENS Foundation)
100+ - Sonia Arrison (Thiel Foundation)
Global Catastrophic Risks - Nick Bostrom (FHI, Singularity Institute)
NanoScience Education, WorkForce Training, and K12 Resources - Miguel Aznar/Judith Lightfeather (Foresight - for STEM HS)

We're also planning an inspiring Essay Contest that incentivizes students to read, reflect, & connect with our communities! Supporting sister organizations such as Space Frontier Foundation, Humanity+, SENS, and 20Under20+ are also putting promotional material in book-boxes.

We need your help to make this pilot a success.
Most books came in as physical donations, but this is a bootstrapped project; we're still seeking funds to support the financial incentive prizes, student conference tickets, & remaining books being shipped in this week. If you'd like to help maximize this project's leverage, please contribute!

Whether $5 for one book's postal costs or $5K for essay prizes, every $ counts.

Want to help some other way? Our first book-boxing party is Sunday, August 19th - very soon! For more information, contact our Director of Outreach:

Help us inspire the next generation of world-changers!

Youth Outreach BookBoxing Party!

w/LIVE Music by the LA-based Ancient Lasers
Sunday, August 19th,5-11pm
Outreach Director Desiree Dudley's home in Union City, CA

Foresight at Singularity University

Foresight Co-Founder Christine Peterson and Director of Outreach Desiree Dudley spoke at NASA-Ames'Singularity University Monday night, August 13th, from 8-10pm. Presentations were from 8-9, and a Q&A panel with H+'s Amy Li and SU's Jose Cordiero 9-10pm! Topics included nanotech, biotech, life-extension, and our exciting new futurist youth outreach initiative.

Christine Peterson and Desiree Dudley in CNBC documentary

Foresight Co-Founder Christine Peterson and Director of Outreach Desiree Dudley will appear in their role as mentors for the Thiel Foundation's 20Under20 in CNBC's documentary "20Under20: Transforming Tomorrow". See these brilliant young people in CNBC's upcoming documentary, 9-11pm EDT this Tuesday, August 14th! (It's a 2-part documentary; the 1st episode actually first airs at 10pm EDT on Monday, but re-airs at 9pm EDT Tuesday before the second part at 10pm EDT.) Video trailer:

Bay Area Dinner Lectures Resume Fall 2013

Foresight had some great dinner lectures this spring from speakers such as 100+ author Sonia Arrison and Harvard Fellow/MIT Media Lab Affiliate Alex Wissner-Gross. We will be taking a break this summer; but, we will resume in the Fall.

Other Upcoming Activities of Interest

A future issue of Update will report on the FNANO conference held this Spring at Snowbird.

Macro- and Supramolecular Architectures and Materials (MAM-12)

November 21-25, 2012
Coimbatore, India

Novel materials will play a key role in science and technology in the 21st century.

Printed Electronics USA 2012

December 5-6, 2012
Santa Clara, CA USA

Printed Electronics is one of the fastest growing technologies in the world. This event, the World's largest on the topic and growing rapidly every year, is your information and networking hub on the topic. Printed Electronics USA is co-located with the Photovoltaics IDTechEx event.

About the Foresight Institute
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.

The Foresight Institute is a non-profit, member-supported 501(c)(3) organization. We offer membership levels appropriate to meet the needs and interests of individuals and companies. Donations are tax deductible.

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