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R&D Targets and Regulatory Risks in Molecular Manufacturing

N. Jacobstein*

Teknowledge Corporation

This is an abstract for a talk to be given at the Fifth Foresight Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology.

The development of a viable molecular manufacturing industry will depend on the strategic selection of R&D targets and the proactive avoidance of regulatory risks. Achieving precise positional control of molecules via assemblers would provide one critical component of a complete manufacturing system. Scaling up the technology and developing the additional components needed for industrial manufacturing operations is another challenge. These components must then be integrated into a molecular factory of the future, a considerable systems engineering project. In the past, large systems engineering efforts in defense and space applications received major boosts from large government R&D efforts. These efforts were often justified by the potential or actual "spin-offs" from the research. An alternative strategy for funding molecular manufacturing R&D is to identify the critical components needed for an eventual factory, and focus on specific target components that provide immediate economic value added. Nanosystems integration companies will emerge to provide the systems engineering and integration of "best of breed" molecular manufacturing components. This approach does not preclude huge government investment in molecular manufacturing R&D, in fact, it stimulates and leverages it. Further, it provides an alternate route to development, which may work in the absence of a critical mass of government R&D funds. Development of a viable molecular manufacturing industrial base will also require proactive R&D attention to specific environmental, defense, and intelligence issues that may drive reflexive controls on the industry, and prevent timely and responsible deployment of the technology.



*Corresponding Address:
Neil Jacobstein, President & Chief Operating Officer, Teknowledge Corporation, 1810 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303, email: njacobst@teknowledge.com
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