Nanosystems: molecular machinery, manufacturing, and computation by K. Eric Drexler (576 pp., 200+ illustrations. Wiley Interscience, 1992, hardcover or paperback).

Several chapters of Nanosystems are available on line.

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Nanosystems was reviewed by James B. Lewis in The Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) Vol. 115, No. 24, December 1993, pages 11657-11658:

The goal of Drexler's investigations is "building complex structures with atom-by-atom control", which is also the ultimate goal of synthetic chemistry. Drexler's approach is distinguished from conventional chemistry in that complex structures are to be made by using programmable "nanoscale mechanical systems to guide the placement of reactive molecules" to about 0.1-nm precision. The objective of the book is to present a theoretical foundation for "molecular manufacturing", which Drexler also calls "molecular nanotechnology". The objective is not to present a detailed review of recent experimental progress in the many disciplines that converge on what is being increasingly termed "nanotechnology". ....

Several alternative pathways from current technology to molecular manufacturing are considered, at least briefly, guiding chemists and others toward a plethora of interesting problems to pursue.

The review by William H. MacIntosh in Computing Reviews, May 1993, Vol 34 No 5, page 227:

In this volume, Drexler presents the technical analysis of molecular machinery and manufacturing....It will probably see use in graduate studies and as a reference work for many years.

Some quotes from the preface of Nanosystems:

Manufactured products are made from atoms, and their properties depend on how those atoms are arranged. This volume summarizes 15 years of research in molecular manufacturing, the use of nanoscale mechanical systems to guide the placement of reactive molecules, building complex structures with atom-by-atom control. This degree of control is a natural goal for technology: Microtechnology strives to build smaller devices; materials science strives to make more useful solids; chemistry strives to synthesize more complex molecules; manufacturing strives to make better products. Each of these fields requires precise, molecular control of complex structures to reach its natural limit, a goal that has been termed molecular nanotechnology.

It has become clear that this degree of control can be achieved. The present volume assembles the conceptual and analytical tools needed to understand molecular machinery and manufacturing, presents an analysis of their core capabilities and explores how present laboratory techniques can be extended, stage by stage, to implement molecular manufacturing systems.

From the table of contents:

1. Introduction and Overview

Part I

2. Classical Magnitudes and Scaling Laws

3. Potential Energy Surfaces

4. Molecular Dynamics

5. Positional Uncertainty

6. Transistions, Errors, and Damage

7. Energy Dissipation

8. Mechanosynthesis

Part II

9. Nanoscale Structural Components

10. Mobile Interfaces and Moving Parts

11. Intermediate Subsystems

12. Nanomechanical Computational Systems

13. Molecular Sorting, Processing, and Assembly

14. Molecular Manufacturing Systems

Part III

15. Macromolecular Engineering

16. Paths to Molecular Manufacturing

Appendix A. Methodological Issues in Theoretical and Applied Science

Appendix B. Related Research


Symbols, Units, and Constants




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