Re: Bootstrapping to nanotech

Carl Feynman (
Fri, 05 Sep 1997 13:39:58 -0400

At 12:08 PM 9/4/97 -0700, Hal Finney wrote:
>... I think the consensus today is that
>the STM/AFM approach is the most productive. Look at the most recent
>issue of the journal Nanotechnology, table of contents at:
>Virtually every article has to do with probe microscopes of various

Don't be too dismayed by this. That journal is not representative of all
research in nanotechnology. People who are on the chemical or biotech
routes don't publish there.

If you want to know about people who are using chemical synthesis to
construct teeny machine parts, look in 'Angewandte Chemie' or any other
major chemical jornal. I'd say 3% of the chemical literature is now on
topics directly applicable to building nanomachines. It's just hard to
notice because (a) it's mixed in with all the other kinds of chemistry, and
(b) chemists don't like to use the word 'nanotechnology', though they are
aiming for the same target.

Check here for some examples:

Everyone thinks the bearings designed by Drexler and Merkle are cool. Well,
a bunch of chemists are now working on actual bearings, which, unlike the
ones designed by D&M, can actually be made. But they call them 'rotaxanes',
so nobody seems to have noticed. Here's a typical article on the topic:

And just to show that's not a fluke, here's a list of dozens of articles
describing new rotaxanes:

Progress marches on!