The Basics of Molecular Nanotechnology


MNT or molecular nanotechnology is a manufacturing technology that is currently being researched and is said to be something that will allow the precise control and assembly of building blocks that are molecule sized–and this is done with the help of manipulator arms that come in nano-scale sizes. While nanotechnology in general is considered a term that is used to describe the technological and scientific projects that revolve around the different properties and phenomena that are at the nanometer scale, molecular nanotechnology is considered a distinct science apart from this general term.

Bottom-Up Manufacturing

The idea for molecular nanotechnology first took shape in the hands of Richard Feynman who was a Nobel-Prize-winning physicist. He first talked about this in 1959 and discussed the possibility of regular-sized robot arms building one-tenth-sized replicas of themselves. These smaller replicas will then repeat the process of building smaller copies of themselves until the replicas that were being produced were of a molecular scale. He further expounded on the use of these miniscule manufacturing arms in what was to be called a bottom-up manufacturing method where things are built from the ground up.

Continuing Development and Research

While the idea had its merits, it was not until the 1980s when an MIT engineer named K. Eric Drexler took the concept up again and wrote a book about it, outlining the possibilities of molecular nanotechnology. He stated that since this will enable people to manufacture products from the molecular base upwards and with molecular precision, a whole lot of chemically possible structures could actually be created with this method. The process is called molecular manufacturing, and the idea that each molecule of the substance being created is put in its specific place with utmost precision means that the end-result can be products that are efficiently and very cleanly put together.

From Concept to Realization

This idea called molecular nanotechnology is still in its research stage with scientists trying to find ways to make the creation of products from the ground up a reality. This concept is seen as something that can benefit the human race in many ways and these include the creation of what is called smart materials, materials that are made to react differently to the different molecules they encounter. These can be seen applied to such fields like medicine and is seen to be ideal for such ideas like self-healing products.

Other Possible Applications

Other possibilities that seem to be considered ideal with the use of molecular nanotechnology include the creation of medical nanorobots and replicating nanorobots. The reason why these nanorobots are appealing to a lot of researchers is the fact that these miniscule robots that can be tasked to help with medical problems can help prevent diseases by helping keep certain parts of your body free of the disease-carrying factors that you have in your body. An example of what these medical nanorobots could do is the concept of their being able to repair tissues and cells when they get damaged. These are also viewed as possible “repairmen” that can help repair physical injuries from the inside out.

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