The award, provided for the next four years through the generosity of computer
industry entrepreneur Jim Von Ehr of Macromedia Inc., is intended primarily
to allow the winning student to attend Foresight Institute's Conference
on Molecular Nanotechnology, which is held in odd-numbered years to
bring together leaders in nanotechnology research, or the Foresight Senior
Associates Gathering, held in even-numbered years for researchers and
supporters of nanotechnology research.
The Foresight Institute Distinguished Student Award institutionalizes the
first grant made in 1996 by Foresight to John M. Michelsen, a University
of California at Irvine chemistry student. Michelsen's
work, "Atomically Precise, 3D Organic Nanofabrication: Reactive
Lattice Subunit Design for Inverse AFM/STM Positioning," is described
on the Web (see Web Watch in this issue).
"I found John's discussion of his work on the World Wide Web last year,
and was so impressed that I wanted to make sure we got him involved in last
fall's Senior Associates Gathering," said Von Ehr. "Later,
it seemed like such a good idea to bring bright and promising students into
the mix that we decided to make the award more permanent. We hope it will
further stimulate the burgeoning interest in nanotechnology study on campuses
around the country."
Persons interested in nominating themselves or others for the award should
contact Josh Hall via sci.nanotech, or Foresight Institute by e-mail at
firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling Foresight Institute at (415) 917-1122.
Entries for this year's award must be submitted by September 1, 1997. The
winner will be selected in time to allow attendance at the November
1997 Conference on Molecular Nanotechnology in Palo Alto.
Matching Grant Program Encourages Much New
Senior Associate Participation
A $40,000 matching grant offered in
late 1996 by a generous long-time Senior Associate proved even more
beneficial than expected. Because of the grant, Foresight received 20 new
Senior Associate memberships, several increases in membership level, and
nearly $10,000 in one-time donations, according to Foresight Executive Director
"Matching grants work wonderfully well," Peterson said. "The
$40,000 donation was extremely helpful, even standing alone. Combined with
the generosity of others who were motivated by the opportunity to leverage
their own gifts, it has helped Foresight Institute achieve a stronger financial
footing than we have enjoyed for some time. We are very grateful to everyone
who participated in the project, and most especially to our matching grant
Inspired by the matching grant, Foresight supporters pledged $22,802.86
for new or upgraded Senior Associate memberships and one-time gifts-- more
than sufficient to meet the two-for-one matching requirement of the grant.
"With the focus on nanotechnology in the technical community rapidly
turning from 'can this be done?' to 'here's how we can do this!', the role
of Foresight Institute in leading public policy discussions becomes ever
more important," Peterson said. "The support of Senior
Associates is invaluable in providing the resources to continue our
many initiatives, including an impressive and increasing World Wide Web
presence, our online discussion forum
and expanded newsletter, and increasing technical discussions in our biennial
Nanotechnology Conferences and elsewhere."
The Senior Associates Program has
been established to provide steady support for the research projects of
the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing,
and for the education and communication projects of the Foresight Institute,
enabling long-term planning and commitments, and providing seed money for
The Senior Associates Program supports vital research and education in molecular
nanotechnology. It enables individuals to play a key role in advancing this
technology and its responsible use through their individual or corporate
By pledging an annual contribution of $250 to $5,000 a year for five years,
Senior Associates join those most committed to making a difference in nanotechnology.
Benefits of becoming a Senior Associate include special publications, online
interaction, and special meetings. Senior Associates will also beta-test
Foresight's Web Enhancement debate
Foresight is a nonprofit foundation; donations are tax-deductible in the
U.S. to the full extent permitted by law. Donations can be made by check
from a U.S. bank, postal money order, VISA, or Mastercard. Credit card donations
may be sent by fax.
To contribute, obtain a donation
form on the Foresight Institute World Wide Web site, call 415-917-1122,
fax 415-917-1123, or email email@example.com
Ralph Merkle Joins Foresight Board; Chris
Peterson Named Executive Director
Merkle, a leading computational nanotechnologist at Xerox Palo Alto
Research Center, was elected in January to the Board
of Directors of Foresight Institute. He replaces Chris Peterson, who
resigned from the Board to accept a new position as Executive Director of
Foresight Institute. Peterson served as an unpaid Director of the organization
since it was founded.
"Ralph's leadership at the Foresight Institute, and in the field generally,
have established him as one of the leading nanotechnology researchers,"
said Foresight Chairman K. Eric Drexler. "He has chaired the most successful
biennial Molecular Nanotechnology conference in Foresight's history, contributed
thoughtfully to public discussion of the ramifications of nanotechnology,
and still finds time to conduct brilliant creative research in nanotechnology
engineering. He is a welcome addition to our Board."
Foresight's staff now numbers six people - Office Manager Judy Hill, Membership
Services Coordinator Elaine Tschorn, Webmaster Jim Lewis in Seattle, Update
Editor Lew Phelps in Pasadena, CA., Conference Coordinator and Graphic Designer
Marcia Seidler, and Peterson.
John Michelsen's Web site has a large section on molecular nanotechnology
that focuses on technical aspects of diamondoid mechanosynthesis, and also
includes discussion of using larger molecular building blocks for positional
synthesis. It provides a lot of food for thought for anyone interested in
paths from current technology to molecular manufacturing. The material is
well-presented but quite technical, so those who are familiar with Nanosystems
and have a good chemistry background will have an easier time following
the arguments than will those who encounter diamondoid molecular machinery
here for the first time. The document is well-linked to related material
on the Web.
The major nanotechnology-related component of the site is a large document
Precise, 3D Organic Nanofabrication: Reactive Lattice Subunit Design for
Inverse AFM/STM Positioning." It begins with a clear and concise
introduction to diamondoid molecular machinery, followed by a section on
mechanosynthesis that presents novel, detailed reagent preparation proposals.
A particularly useful feature of this and other sections is the availability
of atomic coordinates (PDB files) for many of the proposed structures, so
that users with the appropriate software can examine in detail the proposed
atomically detailed structures.
A section on "Diamondoid
Analog Machinery" discusses how using larger subunits, such as
aryl rings, relaxes the imaging resolution and positional accuracy necessary
to make mechanosynthesis work, and how interpenetrating lattices might present
a solution to the "zeolite effect" that arises when using molecular
building blocks. There is a section on tip
arrays for use in AFM-based positional synthesis, based upon a proposed
atomically precise tip, composed of phenylacetylene rods, for inverse imaging
of the AFM tip. Michelsen claims that "The approach presented here,
in contrast to much work done in two dimensional surface patterning, aims
towards atomically precise organic nanofabrication in three dimensions."
Site visitors interested in considering this claim will find specific proposals
to evaluate. Another nice feature of this site is that Michelsen posts (and
responds to) critiques
of his ideas.
Markus Krummenacker's web site contains the paper "Steps
toward molecular manufacturing", which was published in 1994 in
Chem. Design Autom. News, and which is based upon his work
that was supported by IMM. This paper presents a discussion of design rules
for molecular building blocks to be used along a pathway for development
of a primitive assembler. As an alternative to approaches based upon folding
polymers, Krummenacker considers the problem of designing small molecular
building blocks (MBB's) able to form covalent bonds in three dimensions.
Such MBB's would be an important advance over current attempts to design
solids using weak, noncovalent bonds to hold the parts together.
After exploring various issues with linking small organic molecules together
to form MBB's, Krummenacker concludes that the approaches considered lead
to lattices of MBB's with large empty cavities (the "zeolite effect"),
with consequently compromised mechanical properties. Atomic coordinates
(PDB files) are provided for a pair of proposed MBB's that illustrate some
of the trade-offs in MBB design.
Motivated by the need to find a way to fill cavities to reduce the zeolite
effect, Krummenacker is developing a program called CavityStuffer
to pack a defined volume with a branched polymer. A PDB file of a "tree
molecule" produced by the current, very early implementation of the
program, is available as an example of the output of the program. The program
files and information on setting up and running the program are available
for those who would like to contribute to the further development of CavityStuffer.
Thanks to Eugene Leitl for posting on the sci.nanotech news group a pointer
to this scanning probe microscopy homepage. This page provides a very extensive
list of annotated links to the Web pages of groups doing scanning probe
microscopy (79 links in this section as of 2/7/97), companies selling equipment,
journals publishing results, and professional societies involved with scanning
probe microscopy and related technologies.
The following are a few links from this page that led to web sites with
large amounts of useful technical information on SPM. The STM group at the
University of Nottingham presents an html
version of a published paper on using STM to manipulate C60
molecules on a silicon surface . The web
site maintained by Paul Weiss's group at Pennsylvania State University
offers a wealth of publication abstracts and images concerning interactions
of atoms with surfaces, and ways to extend the capabilities of the STM.
The web site for Nanoscale
Physics at Purdue University provides a collection of pictures and papers
dealing with SPM of nanoscale structures. This group is part of the Purdue
Nanotechnology Initiative, which focuses on demonstrating "novel
techniques for the design and fabrication of nanoelectronic devices by the
chemical manipulation of nanometer (10-9 meters) sized clusters
and molecular wires."