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Molecular Metaprogramming - Towards a Matter Compiler

Foresight Update 28.07—July 8, 2015
ISSN 1078-9731

Nanotech News

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In this issue:

Linking together small DNAs to build more diverse DNA nanostructures

A few months ago we cited a cheaper, easier way developed by researchers at McGill University to build long DNA scaffolds. A further substantial improvement, in which long DNA segments of up to 1000 base pairs are produced less expensively than the short 100-base strands they previously used is described …

Toward advanced nanotechnology: Working solid state molecular shuttle

Two years ago we cited the demonstration by a group at the University of Windsor of a solid state molecular machine comprising a molecular wheel made from a rotaxane molecule held in place in a self-assembled metal organic framework. This work was widely recognized as a step toward solid state molecular machinery. A recent article … explains the most recent step forward along that path, the creation of a molecular shuttle in which the ring around the axle of the rotaxane molecule shuttles back and forth between two positions …

Wafer-scale atomically precise thin layers for nanotechnology

The path of progress in nanotechnology stretches from approximate control of the structure of matter—a precision of 1 to 100 nm in at least one dimension in which unique phenomena enable novel applications—to atomic precision in three dimensions. … Current computer and other important technologies … rely upon electronic and optoelectronic properties. For these applications, progress toward atomically precise thin films, especially thin films of semiconductors, looks very promising. …

DNA nanomachines more stable than expected in human serum and blood

Over the past several years we have cited substantial progress in making ever more complex molecular machinery using structural DNA nanotechnology. Much of this work is focused on eventual medical applications, so it becomes important to ask how fragile such machinery would be in human serum and blood. A year ago we cited work work showing that a Lipid coat protects DNA nanorobot from immune attack, and six months ago that Swarms of DNA nanorobots execute complex tasks in living animald. More recently researchers at Boise State University have demonstrated that some DNA nanomachines are surprisingly stable in human serum and blood. …

Self-assembly of silicon metamaterial for nanoscale reflectors

Recently highlighted in a C&EN article titled Simple Process Creates Near-Perfect Mirrors Out of a Metamaterial, researchers out of Vanderbilt University developed a method to self-assemble silicon nanostructures to achieve highly (Bragg-like) reflective mirrors which capitalize on nanoscale properties not present in bulk structures. The self-assembly method is far simpler than previous, conventional electron beam lithography approaches. …

Google Tech Talk video by Feynman Prize Winner

Christian Schafmeister, winner of the 2005 Foresight Institute Feynman Prize for Experimental work and participant in last year’s Foresight Institute Workshop on Directed/Programmable Matter for Energy, began programming at age 12 on a Radio Shack TRS-80, followed that interest into a career in chemistry, and is currently a chemistry professor at Temple University. Earlier this month he gave a Google Tech Talk that is available on You Tube “Clasp: Common Lisp using LLVM and C++ for Molecular Metaprogramming – Towards a Matter Compiler” (57:37).

Prof. Schafmeister’s goal is to build molecules as easily as he can write software; specifically he wants to build molecules that can do things, like go into the body and fix things. …

US OSTP seeking suggestions for Nanotechnology Grand Challenges

The US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is seeking suggestions for Nanotechnology Grand Challenges. As explained in the Federal Register for June 17 …

The purpose of this Request for Information (RFI) is to seek suggestions for Nanotechnology-Inspired Grand Challenges for the Next Decade: Ambitious but achievable goals that harness nanoscience, nanotechnology, and innovation to solve important national or global problems and have the potential to capture the public’s imagination. …

Conference video: Regenesis: Bionano

Prof. Church began with the immense drop in the cost of DNA sequencing from the production of the draft human genome sequence in 2000 at a cost of $3 billion to the early 2013 cost of $2000 to $4000 per genome. With whole genome sequencing becoming inexpensive, the question arises where are you going to store all of the data? Prof. Church’s answer is that DNA itself is a pretty good place to store that data, and other types of data as well. In fact, he encoded his book co-authored with Ed Regis Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves, into a 5.27 megabit bitstream that was written with DNA synthesis technologies and read with DNA sequencing technology, requiring about a picogram of DNA …

—Nanodot posts by Stephanie C. and James Lewis

Foresight Events and News

Nominations are now open for the 2015 Foresight Feynman Prizes and Distinguished Student Award

Nominations for the 2015 Foresight Institute Feynman Prizes: Experimental and Theory are due on October 31, 2015. Winners will be announced in mid 2016. Submission or nomination instructions.

Nominations for the 2015 Distinguished Student Award are due on October 31, 2015. Winners will be announced in mid 2016. Submission/nomination instructions.

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