T  h  e     A  s  s  e  m  b  l  e  r                                 May 1994
      Newsletter of the Molecular Manufacturing Shortcut Group
##Table of Contents:

	##1: ISDC in Toronto
	##2: Officer Position Available
	##3: One Timeline for MM Developement
	##4: NSF Grant for Nanotechnology Developement
	##5: Membership Info
##1: ISDC in Toronto

	This year's annual MMSG chapter meeting will be held at the  
International Space Development Conference in Toronto.
	The conference will take place from May 27th-30th at the Regal 
Constellation Hotel.
	At the door registration is $90US or $30US for students.
	Room rates are: Sngl/Dbl $67US, Triple/Quad $77US. Reservations can 
be made by calling (800)268-4838.
##2: Officer Position Available

	The Position of Secretary for the MMSG will be up for grabs at the 
upcoming meeting in Toronto.  The current Secretary is resigning.
	The position of Secretary currently entails two primary functions: 
	To record the minutes of the annual meeting; and, to edit and 
publish this newsletter.
	The latter also involves gathering information and maintaining a 
current membership roster.

##3: One Timeline for Molecular Manufacturing Developement.
(taken from a letter from Tom McKendree)

	I think it would prove quite useful if we could get a few people to 
list what they consider to be the closer-term and longer-term specific 
benefits of nanotechnology.  The focus here, I believe, should be on the 
application more than the technology.

NEAR TERM ( <10 years)
 	Mainly things for science and technology, since it does not seem 
likely that you could make mass quantities of anything near term, but 
information can be easily replicated with current technology.
 	More general probes for examining proteins and molecular surfaces.  
Should include probes for making (some) specific molecular changes, and 
examining the results.
 	A device for directly building prototypes of novel molecules, and the 
information one gets from building and testing such (fairly) arbitrary  
 	A scanning probe system for "molecular archeology."  Take something of 
interest (like an HIV virus), fully characterize its outer surface to atomic 
precision, slowly remove fragements, one by one, fully char- acterizing at 
each step.  In principle (and after building up experience, probably often in 
practice), one would have a very powerful, very general technique for 
characterizing in 3 dimensions, and to atomic precision, the structure of 
things like viruses.
 	Designed pharma- ceuticals are along one path to molecular 
nanotechnology, and they are a nearer term benefit of that path.
 	Kilobase/second DNA readers (for really fast genome sequencing),

MEDIUM TERM (5-15years) 	Molecular based computer memory.
 	Possibly (this is speculative before general molecular manufacturing) 
some  mass-producable molecular logic circuit that can be self configured 
(e.g.,  training neural nets) and thus forms a useful, and probably very high 
 performance, computer capability.
 	Quite possibly, the ability to make bulk structures (Aircraft panels 
and stringers, I-beams for buildings and bridges, etc) out of diamond-diamond 
composite, or some other "wonder" material.

FAR TERM (>10 years)
 	The key technical capability is a general ability to build molecular 
nanotechnology products.  This includes the ability to bootstrap production, 
which drives manufacturing costs to something very low (but not zero).
 	Something that looks like a microwave, and can build you anything in 
the Sears catalog for ~$1 per pound, often in under an hour.  Technologically 
capable  of building you another such molecular manufacturing system.  With the
right  systems design, individuals could have such machines build, at their own 
home, personal cars, houses, airplanes, orbital rockets, and other advanced 
systems. Publically available molecular manufacturing systems may deliberately 
not have all these cabilities.
 	A single-stage to fly-to-orbit vehicle massing less than 5 tons loaded 
(and less than 100 kg dry and empty) that can carry 4 people to orbit.
 	Affordable, robust, and potentially small, closed environment 
life-support systems.  A very general manufacturing capability, that will 
probably be able to take advantage of most in-situ resources.  All together, 
the ability for many people to affordably live in space.  This should include 
the ability of typical first world citizens (at least) to afford to settle in 
space without receiving a subsidy.  The hope of getting something resembling 
this is why MMSG supports the development of molecular nanotechnology.
 	Tiny computers, sensors and actuators, trivially cheap on a per-unit 
basis, allowing things like smart paint, clothes, furnature, walls, paper, 
jewelry, etc.
 	Given some time to develop medical capabilities, in general an ability 
to repair physical damage when the correct structure is known.  This should 
allow curing essentially all physical diseases, including aging.
 	Virtual fog I have technical questions about, but it would in essense 
be a  network of nanomachines filling a volume.  They would have the capbility 
to appear invisible, or to appear visible in broad ways, and they would be able 
to, as a network,transer forces.  The network would  have some very powerful  
distributed computing capabilities.  They could generate the illusion of nearly 
anything in the volume.  The best analogy is the holodeck in Star Trek:  The 
Next Generation, although it has also been suggested that virtual fog  could 
have other capabilities (such as personal defense).
 	Uploading, based on the theory that a person is the pattern of 
interconnected information in their brain, is the idea of transfering that 
information to a computer, at which point the person is the software on the 
computer.  Some people who support molecular nanotechnology are quite adament 
about wanting to do this.  One planned benefit is that such a person can have 
a remote archive copy, and be restored after an accident that would otherwise 
be fatal.

VERY FAR TERM (After you've done all the easy things with molecular 
manufacturing, and push out capabilities)
 	As you get really far out, it becomes a Rorschach test.  It should be 
possible to do (almost) anything you want, so what you often hear is people  
coming up with what they most want that isn't possible today.
 	My caveats are that 
a) this will be such a big change that some of our wants will change; 
b) costs will still matter, and  
c) some things will still be impossible.
##4: NSF PR 93-88
	The National Science Board, policy making body of the National Science 
Foundation (NSF), approved on November 19 an NSF recommendation to set up an 
integrated network of nanofabrication facilities open to scientists and
engineers across the country. The National Nanofabrication Users Network will 
encompass facilities at Cornell University, Howard University, Pennsylvania 
State University, Stanford University, and the University of California at 
Santa Barbara.
	The board recommended that $3.55 million be awarded to the network for 
fiscal year 1994, with total funding of up to $20 million over five years. 
Three NSF directorates,  engineering, mathematical and physical sciences, and 
biological sciences  will support the network.  An internal NSF committee, 
chaired by Linton Salmon, program director for solid state and microstructures 
in the engineering directorate, will provide administrative oversight.  A 
network governing board, with representatives from the five universities as 
well as from industry, academia, and government, will direct the network's 
overall administration.       
	A fast-growing field, nanofabrication is a critical "enabling" 
technology for a wide variety of disciplines.  The network will help the 
nation remain at the forefront of many burgeoning research areas, a number of 
which have commercial applications.     
	Researchers from a broad spectrum of disciplines, including 
microelectronics, micromechanics, physics, chemistry, biology, materials 
science, and optics  use the technology to create extremely tiny structures 
required for research.  These structures can have dimensions as small as a 
nanometer--a billionth of a meter.  (For comparison, a human hair is 
approximately 100,000 nanometers in diameter.)  At these extremely small 
scales, structures can exhibit novel behavior, whether physical, biological, 
or chemical.  They display quantum mechanical properties, opening up 
opportunities for new technologies--promising smaller, faster, and less 
expensive computers, for example, and structures for DNA analysis, useful in 
genetic studies.       
	For 16 years, NSF has sought to meet researchers' needs by supporting 
a National Nanofabrication Facility at Cornell University, but the new network,
recommended by an external panel of scientists and engineers, will greatly 
expand access to the technology across the United States.  It will also open 
up the use of nanofabrication for diverse disciplines, including some new to 
the technology.       
	The new network will provide facilities and equipment too costly for 
universities and most companies to support, as well as expert assistance for 
individual researchers from both academia and industry. Cornell and Stanford 
will offer a wide range of capabilities to outside users, while Howard, 
Pennsylvania State, and Santa Barbara will each provide specialized 
capabilities, such as novel materials and etching. An explicit goal of the 
network is to develop new educational outreach programs for nanofabrication 
science and engineering at all levels, including short courses and 
undergraduate research opportunities. 
The National Science Foundation is an independent agency of the federal 
government established in 1950 to promote and advance scientific progress in 
the United States.  NSF accomplishes its mission primarily by competitively 
awarding grants to educational institutions for research and education in
the sciences, mathematics and engineering.

##5: Membership Information

	If this is your first issue or if the expiration date on the address 
label has already passed, we request that you pay dues of $12.00 for a one 
year membership to the Molecular Manufacturing Shortcut Group.
	This fee covers the newsletter mailings and other fees associated with 
the organization.
	You will also receive other materials that will help you teach others 
about the nanotechnology revolution.  
	To send in your membershipo fee please mail a check and vital
information: name, address, phone, e-mail to :

	MMSG Membership
	PO Box 10367
	Blacksburg, VA 24062-03675