Limit to nanotechnology mass-production?

Apr 21, 2011
Limit to nanotechnology mass-production?

(PhysOrg.com) -- A leading nanotechnology scientist has raised questions over a billion dollar industry by boldly claiming that there is a limit to how small nanotechnology materials can be mass produced.

In a paper published today, Thursday, 21 April, in IOP Publishing's journal Nanotechnology, Professor Mike Kelly, Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics, University of Cambridge, stated that you cannot mass produce structures with a diameter of three nanometres or less using a top-down approach.

This statement raises a major question concerning the billions of dollars that are poured into nanotechnology each year in the hope that the latest technology developed in the lab can make the transition to a manufactured product on the market.

is built on the ability to control and manipulate matter at the atomic and molecular level and has far reaching applications including the delivery of drugs into the body, increasing the efficiency of and improving methods of food packaging.

The overall goal when entering nanotechnologies into the market is low-cost, high-volume manufacturability, but at the same time, the materials' properties must be highly reproducible within a pre-specified limit, which Kelly states cannot happen below the 3nm limit when trying to make arrays.

The top-down approach to manufacturing, which Kelly states is limited, uses external tools to cut and shape large to contain many smaller features. Its alternative, the bottom-up approach, involves piecing together small units, usually molecules, to construct whole materials – much like a jigsaw puzzle – however this process is too unpredictable for defect – free mass production of arrays.

Kelly used statistical evaluation of vertical nanopillars - that have been suggested for uses in sensors and displays - as an example to demonstrate his theory. He states that the proof comes in two stages. The first is due to the fact that when materials are mass produced on such a small scale there will be a lot of variation in the size of different components.

As a result of this variation, the properties of the material will vary to an extent where the material cannot function to full capacity within an array.

Professor Kelly says, "If I am wrong, and a counterexample to my theorem is provided, many scientists would be more secure in their continued working, and that is good for science.

"If more work is devoted to the hard problem of understanding just what can be manufactured and how, at the expense of more studies of things that cannot be manufactured under the conditions of the present theorem, then that too is good for science and for technology."

Explore further: A quantum leap in nanoparticle efficiency

More information: iopscience.iop.org/0957-4484/22/24/245303/

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Modernmystic
4.6 / 5 (10) Apr 21, 2011
Professor Mike Kelly, Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics, University of Cambridge, stated that you cannot mass produce structures with a diameter of three nanometres or less using a top-down approach.


Well thank goodness everyone who knows a damn thing about the industry isn't talking about mass production from the top-down...

No wonder we don't have assemblers yet if these are the people working on it...
XQuantumKnightX
2.5 / 5 (2) Apr 21, 2011
I propose that solution to this problem will not be solved by trying to use a familiar primitive approach to manufacturing but by utilizing a hybrid of top down and bottom up assembly of NanoParticles, NanoStructures, NEMS and MEMS. The key to replication, situating and binding Nano Particulates is in creating Nano Tools, Factories, Assemblies, Replicators & Robots on the Pico, Nano, Micro & Macro Scales. If all elements and processes are connected or integrated through a common energy/communication medium then we will have succeeded in building a Nano System that can replicate all processes need for constructing it self recursively. After proliferation of many of these Nano Systems and by bringing them together for cooperative construction replicating itself or other systems then you would have over come the limitations of todays primitive manufacturing systems. The trick here is to leverage a tool that can replicate and extend from the macro down to the pico scale.
XQuantumKnightX
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2011
My answer to this is that the 3nm particle being aligned in an array or situated in to a structure being built, need to be completely done through automated Pico and Nano scale processes that can be bound to all scales of systems necessary for controls and assembly using a common energy/communication medium. Critical mass can be determined by current supply and demand calculations. This critical mass defines how many Nano Systems will have to be constructed to meet demand. Self assembly of particulates can be run through Pico, Nano, Micro or Macro factories for quality checks. If there is a error with the self assembly then break down the Pico, Nano, Micro or Macro structure to its elements and then reprocess. This insures quality of product and a successful manufacturing system.
pauljpease
4 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2011
The key to replication, situating and binding Nano Particulates is in creating Nano Tools, Factories, Assemblies, Replicators & Robots on the Pico, Nano, Micro & Macro Scales. If all elements and processes are connected or integrated through a common energy/communication medium then we will have succeeded in building a Nano System that can replicate all processes need for constructing it self recursively. After proliferation of many of these Nano Systems and by bringing them together for cooperative construction replicating itself or other systems then you would have over come the limitations of todays primitive manufacturing systems. The trick here is to leverage a tool that can replicate and extend from the macro down to the pico scale.


It's called Biology.
TabulaMentis
1.6 / 5 (7) Apr 21, 2011
Years ago "Micro' was the magic word to innovation. Now 'Nano' is the magic word. Today we have nanoscopes, see link:

http://news.cnet....247.html

If we really wish for an accurate bottoms-up approach to nanotech, then we need breakthroughs in the 'Pico' scales. After that, we can move down to even smaller scales; femto, atto, zepto, yocto, etc..
Cal_Sailor
3 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2011
What a negative-nelly. Good thing nobody gave up when "everything has been invented already" in 1910 or thereabout.
Nikola
2 / 5 (1) Apr 21, 2011
Mike Kelly you are one short-sighted professor. Unfortunately I know many like you. Impossible is a word that science loves to shatter.
PinkElephant
5 / 5 (8) Apr 21, 2011
@TabulaMentis,
we need breakthroughs in the 'Pico' scales. After that, we can move down to even smaller scales; femto, atto, zepto, yocto, etc..
You can't shrink structures to smaller than the diameter of a hydrogen atom (which is ~0.11 nm, if going by the Bohr radius.)
XQuantumKnightX
2.7 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2011
I don't think we need to go beyond Pico scales for creating instruments and building blocks that are relevant to the Macro world. The only reason we should go further is to discover the basement of our reality (CERN) and to harness the energies that exist at sub atomic scales. The energy at the sub atomic scale could actually power everything at the Macro Scale using a tool that spans from Pico to Macro and is build from Graphene or NanoTubes. i.e. Almost like an Atomic Magnetic Lever that has its wedge or focal point set at the Nano Scale. If the Pico Scale is sensitive to Atomic Magnetic vibrations then the opposite end of the AML will generate and exert electro mechanical work. Replicate this process and create a Nano Mesh that has a cumulative power output delivered through a medium. And congratulations on our first Infinite Power Source... Just as long as there are vibrating atoms available and taking Naïve continuum theory in to consideration.
TabulaMentis
1.7 / 5 (3) Apr 21, 2011
You can't shrink structures to smaller than the diameter of a hydrogen atom (which is ~0.11 nm, if going by the Bohr radius.

I don't think we need to go beyond Pico scales for creating instruments and building blocks that are relevant to the Macro world.
This article is about mass-production. Pico scales and smaller contain the information Nano scales do not. To mass-produce using Pico scales and smaller would enable replication of products that use only energy in the manufacturing process, no raw materials needed. Teleportation of human structure information, including brain memory and thoughts, would also become available at the Pico scale and smaller. The futuristic machines that I am referring to that can be used for mass-production are called an all-in-one; Replicator, Teleporter, Immortalizer, Mind Reader, Alchemizer Machine. Then we could have big machines that make other machines. All we would need is energy and information at those small scales, no raw materials.
XQuantumKnightX
2.5 / 5 (2) Apr 21, 2011
If we are looking to construct atoms from information then you are correct! However, there is all ready an abundant supply of existing atoms to construct any molecular structure or material needed for macro scale production. All matter is comprised of three known elements electron, proton & neutron and there anti counter parts. Thus, we only ever need to produce and arrange them to create exotic atoms but for known atoms that are included in the periodical table we can just borrow from waste and undesired materials. For example, what if we use a combination of water (H2O) and sand (SiO2) as input in to a nano molecular decoupler and the feed the elements into one of Nano systems I described earlier? We in theory should be able do this with all trash and waste world wide. This would be ultimate waste recycling and would allow for direct mass input in to manufacturing affordable, high quality, multi-functional products.
NanoCarbon
3.7 / 5 (3) Apr 22, 2011
I think Dr. Kelly is a physicist who is not aware of advances in modern engineering techniques.

Anyways, in our labs also we dont use a top down approach to make,, say a aligned array of single walled carbon nanotube. Rather we use "suitable chemistry" to make those arrays and if we have good enough sensors and controls, we can and we do make very controlled samples on a decent scale.
sender
5 / 5 (1) Apr 22, 2011
Professor Mike Kelly is commenting on the status of surface etched machining.

Not however on the production of parahydrogen and meta-material synthesis within optically tweezed substrate for stabilization as most chemical chiralities exhibit.
eric96
2.5 / 5 (2) Apr 22, 2011
The solution to this problem is blatantly obvious but mind-bogglingly difficult to implement. There are two possible solutions. One involves lasers create a filter for the bottom up approach that each small peace is exactly the same. There are other problems of course, but that's a progression nevertheless.

The other involves using micro-organism to do the self-assembly from top down. Humans and human tools simply are suited for the job. If your building a death star having giants might be handy. If your building nanoscale whatever, tiny helpers are the ones you want on the assembly line. End of story. Good bye, problem solved. Just implement haha.
sender
not rated yet Apr 22, 2011
Solution of a sort:
http://ieeexplore...4054407|

Optical assembly lines.
krundoloss
3 / 5 (1) Apr 23, 2011
I don't see how this is relevant if we can perfect self assembly techniques. After all, the whole universe has somehow self assembled, why can't we setup nanomaterials to self assemble into perfect products every time. Technically, everything we mass produce now is imperfect. Nano technology actually improves our ability to mass produce products that are identical at the atomic level! Frankly I feel the idea the nanotechnology mass production is not possible at certain levels is rediculous! That's the whole point of nanotechnology, to revolutionize manufacturing processes!
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Apr 23, 2011
You're all full of hot air, and 80% of you don't even know what the hell you're talking about.
Mahal_Kita
5 / 5 (1) Apr 24, 2011
Well.. When I read pauljpease's remark, I can imagine that the production process will be something like biology in the future. Perhaps we will produce with dedicated artificial enzimes one day.
DiShengLee
5 / 5 (1) May 01, 2011
Nothing is impossible. How's that? Thanks to scientists like you guys. *salute*

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