NANO: Passive nanofilter

Technotranscendence (
Mon, 19 Jul 1999 06:53:56 -0700

Over the past few months, I've been trying to see if anyone has come up with the idea of a passive nanofilter. Admittedly, I've only been looking on what has been accessible via the web. I haven't found anything on the subject. So, I offer my speculation here on it in hopes others will be able to use the idea. (If it is original, I would mind a bit of credit should anything come of it, though not being an engineer, I don't imagine myself actually designing or producing it.:)

What is a passive nanofilter? It is a device which filters particles based on electrostatic properties at the nanometer scale. How could this be done? It could do this through use of it's configuration and composition. I imagine a membrane with pores whereing the pores might be surrounded with atoms of certain types and with a certain geometry all imbedded in some sort of structure. There are no moving parts per se -- hence the "passive."

What could this be used for? Separation of materials obviously, including filtering water to greater degrees of purity, removing chemicals from other liquids or gases, or separating a mixture of several substances into various caches of near pure substances.

Such a filter might not be able to work with raw materials, such as seawater, given that it might become clogged easily, but it might work with materials that have already gone through a preliminary filtering by some other devices.

To my mind, it might be easier to create this machine since it only involves placing some atoms in a substrate -- as opposed to create a nanomachine or a self-replicator. However, despite its simplicity, it might be a milestone on the way to creating other nanodevices, especially nanomachines, as it would be able to provide purer sets of building blocks than current methods.

Any thoughts on this?


Daniel Ust