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Molecular nanotechnology

The amount of information trafficking internet nowadays is enormous and will increase further in the near future. It can be expected that in the next decennia the current technologies to store and process data will no longer suffice and that other strategies to handle information have to be developed. One approach is to explore chemical routes, which nature has also followed during evolution: our brain can store and handle very large amounts of data and process them in a way silicon-based computers cannot do. Although brain-like chemical computers are still far beyond reach, it is of interest to explore how atom and molecule-based systems that can write, read, and store information might be designed and constructed.


Molecular Nanotechnology (MNT) is a technology that is used to design complex structures through the mechanosynthesis process, in order to obtain the correct atomic specifications. In this technology, complex products are built using nanomachines. This process is not at all similar to nanomaterials as it is based on molecular manufacturing. The mechanosynthesis process used for this technology will be assisted by complex molecular machine systems.


Molecular nanotechnology is a rapidly developing field that has, for several decades now, explored the possibilities of miniaturizing technology found on the macroscopic scale. One area of nanotechnology that has made tremendous progress is developing molecular machines; assemblies that can undergo controlled directional movement driven by external stimuli. Macroscopic devices often serve as inspiration for molecular analogs of hinges, rotors, switches, and even complex structures such as cars. Using molecular machines, functions may be performed, such as transporting chemicals, macroscopic movement, and catalysis. Although practically still at the proof of concept stage, the array of processes that can be catalyzed by molecular machines is impressive and includes polymerization and asymmetric synthesis


MNT is actually a multi-product reaction process in which the molecular reactions are to be perfectly balanced in order to obtain the considered chemical reaction. The products of these reactions are again used to build a whole new system.  MNT would involve combining physical principles demonstrated by biophysics, chemistry, other nanotechnologies, and the molecular machinery of life with the systems engineering principles found in modern macroscale factories.


Projected applications and capabilities

Smart materials and nanosensors

Any sort of material designed and engineered at the nanometer scale for a specific task is a smart material. If materials could be designed to respond differently to various molecules, for example, artificial drugs could recognize and render inert specific viruses. self-healing structures would repair small tears in a surface naturally in the same way as human skin.


A nanosensor would resemble a smart material, involving a small component within a larger machine that would react to its environment and change in some fundamental, intentional way. A very simple example: a photosensor might passively measure the incident light and discharge its absorbed energy as electricity when the light passes above or below a specified threshold, sending a signal to a larger machine. Such a sensor would supposedly cost less and use less power than a conventional sensor, and yet function usefully in all the same applications — for example, turning on parking lot lights when it gets dark.


Smart Dust

Given a mature nanotechnology, it should be possible to build sensors in balloon-borne systems approximately the size of bacteria. With replication based manufacturing, these should be quite inexpensive. If the serious communication and control problems can be solved, one can imagine spreading billions of tiny lighter-than-air vehicles into the atmosphere to measure wind currents and atmospheric composition. A similar approach might be taken in the oceans — note that the oceans are full of floating microscopic living organisms that can sense and react to their environment. Smart dust might sense the environment, note the location via a GPS-like system, and store that information until close enough to a data-collection point to transfer the data to the outside world.


Replicating nanorobots

MNT nanofacturing is popularly linked with the idea of swarms of coordinated nanoscale robots working together. In this early proposal, sufficiently capable nanorobots would construct more nanorobots in an artificial environment containing special molecular building blocks.


[Drexler 92a] proposes the development of programmable molecular assembler/replicators. These are atomically precise machines that can make and break chemical bonds using mechanosynthesis to produce a wide variety of products under software control, including copies of themselves. Interestingly, living cells exhibit many properties of assembler/replicators. Cells make a wide variety of products, including copies of themselves, and can be programmed with DNA. Replication is one approach to building large systems, such as human-rated launch vehicles, from molecular machines manipulating matter one or a few atoms at a time. Note that biological replication is responsible for systems as large as redwood trees and whales.


Darwin Platform Group makes military equipment based on molecular nanotechnology

Darwin Platform Group and Hyderabad-based Woxsen University indigenously developed military equipment based on Molecular Nano Technology for armed forces personnel. Darwin Platform Group of Companies (DPGC) announced on Saturday it is making in military and scientific advancements. The company showcased the prototypes of indigenously designed and developed military equipment based on Molecular Nano Technology (MNT). For this ambitious project, DPGC partnered with the Robotics Lab at Woxsen University, Hyderabad for designing and developing these prototypes.


Under the project, the company plans to provide three MNT-based equipment- Military Jackets, Arms and Ammunition and Laser-Guided Munition and Guidance against Laser Guided Bombs. Group CEO Raja Roy Choudhury said, “These scientific and military advancements will be all part of DPGC’s aim to resonate with the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. The research in MNT is being led by Indian Scientists and Researchers.”


“We through this path-breaking initiative, aim to provide our soldier with new-age military equipment so that they can defend our borders vigorously without compromising their safety,” he said. Molecular Nano Technology is a scientific advancement where duplicates are created which are smaller, more functional, lighter and cheaper than the original copy. This type of technology can have major military applications.


“For the development of advanced analytic systems, we have collaborated with the Robotics Lab at Woxsen University, Hyderabad. These systems will be created using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and RPA software for commercial use. Woxsen University will also assist in the R&D of the prototypes being developed by DPGC,” added Choudhury.






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