## PrefaceManufactured products are made from
atoms, and their properties depend on how those atoms are
arranged. This volume summarizes 15 years of research in 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. It
says little about applications other than computation
(describing 10
Molecular manufacturing is linked to many areas of science and technology. In writing this volume, I have been guided by an imaginary committee of readers with differing demands. One is a reader with a general science background, interested in the basic principles, capabilities, and nature of molecular nanotechnology, but not in the mathematical derivations. Accordingly, I have attempted to summarize the chief results in descriptions, diagrams, and example calculations, and have included comparisons of this field to others that are more familiar. Such a reader can skip many sections without becoming lost. Another is a student considering a career in the field. This reader demands an introduction to the foundations of molecular nanotechnology presented in terms of the basic physics, calculus, and chemistry taught to students in other fields. Accordingly, I have grounded most derivations in basic principles, developing intermediate results as needed. The rest of the committee includes a physicist, a chemist, a molecular biologist, a materials scientist, a mechanical engineer, and a computer scientist. Each has deep professional knowledge of a particular field. Each demands answers to special questions that presuppose specialized knowledge. Each knows the exceptions that hide behind most generalizations, and the approximations that hide behind most textbook formulas. Accordingly, the discussion sometimes dives into a topic that readers outside the relevant discipline may find opaque. Skipping past these topics will seldom impair comprehension of what follows. Each of these specialists also represents a community of researchers able to advance the development of molecular nanotechnology. Accordingly, many of the discussions implicitly or explicitly highlight open problems, inviting work in theoretical analysis, in computer-aided design and modeling, and in laboratory experimentation. I hope that this volume will be seen both as a guide and as an invitation to a promising new field.
Our ability to model molecular machines—of specific kinds, designed in part for ease of modeling—has far outrun our ability to make them. Design calculations and computational experiments enable the theoretical study of these devices, independent of the technologies needed to implement them. Work in this field is thus (for now) a branch of theoretical applied science (Appendix A). Molecular manufacturing applies the principles of mechanical engineering to chemistry (or should one say the principles of chemistry to mechanical engineering?) and uses results drawn from materials science, computer science, and elsewhere. But interdisciplinary studies can foster misunderstandings. From every disciplinary perspective, a superficial glance suggests that something is wrong—applying chemical principles leads to odd-looking machines, applying mechanical principles leads to odd-looking chemistry, and so forth. The following chapters offer a deeper view of how these principles interact. |

Copyright © 1998 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.