Atomically precise manufacturing
Atomically Precise Manufacturing (APM) is the production of materials, structures, devices, and finished goods in a manner such that every atom is at its specified location relative to the other atoms, and in which there are no defects, missing atoms, extra atoms, or incorrect (impurity) atoms. Many tools, techniques and parts of the process have been developed, but there is still a gap in taking it out of the lab and scaling to high-throughput.
The first demonstration of manipulating individual atoms occurred in 1989 when Donald Eigler and Erhard Schweizer of the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California, used a scanning tunneling microscope to position 35 individual xenon atoms on a substrate of chilled crystal of nickel to form the acronym "IBM".
In August 2015, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) invited researchers to their Workshop on Integrated Nanosystems for Atomically Precise Manufacturing (INFAPM) to gather information for accelerating the development of APM. "A fundamentally new approach to INFAPM structures and applications, tools, and demonstration is needed to realize the enormous savings potential of atomic-scale, defect-free manufacturing." There are two assembly approaches for achieving an atomic precision. The first approach is tip-based positional assembly using scanning probe microscopes, which would also include Joseph W. Lyding's selective deprotection and atomic layer epitaxial deposition. The second approach is an integrated nanosystems using molecular machine components. "Both approaches have considerable challenges to implementation, including positional accuracy (which is influenced by factors such as component stiffness and thermal vibration), repeatability, working tip design and synthesis, suitable building block design, transport of molecules to the working tip, and scalability."
In February 2018, DOE awarded several research grants for APM to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, University of Texas at Dallas, Zyvex Labs, and others. UT Dallas also announced improvements in preventing Scanning tunneling microscope (STM) tip crashes, a major issue for production.
- Drexler–Smalley debate on molecular nanotechnology
- Molecular machine
- Molecular assembler
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- Integrated Nanosystems for Atomically Precise Manufacturing — United States Department of Energy Workshop – August 5-6, 2015
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