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All the cool functionalities described in the previous chapters require sophisticated engineering skills and fabrication technologies operating on a scale smaller than the size of bacteria. Proponents of “atomically precise manufacturing” and “molecular manufacturing” love to talk about the mind-boggling possibilities that these technologies could offer one day. These visions range from the modest, such as improved materials and more efficient production methods for chemicals (already on the horizon), to the outrageous, such as molecular desktop fabs to make any desired product (far, far out). Articles about revolutionary nanotechnology almost always skip the hard part, i.e. the tremendous amount of research breakthroughs that are required to get from where we are today to the promised land. Nanotechnology researchers today are still struggling with very basic problems such as being able to fully control the synthesis of nanoparticles or 2D materials such as graphene in order to consistently obtain materials with predictable, precisely defined parameters. Not to mention the challenge of scaling up to industrial scale production. Nevertheless, the fabrication techniques that are being developed today are very impressive, sophisticated tools and applications that offer a glimpse of the changes that are in store for industrial manufacturing.

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30 Aug 2016
Copyright year
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ePub eISBN