Related updates at: Metamodern.com
     See also: Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation

Nanotechnology Roadmap

for Atomically Precise Fabrication
and Productive Nanosystems


TRPN cover graphic

Free Downloads:

   Executive Summary


   Working group proceedings [14.5 MB]

   Addendum: Low-Cost DNA Production

Update, June 2009:

   A Russian translation of the Roadmap
   has been provided by the Russian Academy of Sciences.


The release of the Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems marks the completion of the first broad, multidisciplinary effort to explore how current laboratory techniques for atomically precise fabrication can be extended, step by step, toward increasingly advanced products and capabilities.

The Roadmap project was led by the Battelle Memorial Institute, the manager of U.S. National Laboratories that include Pacific Northwest, Oak Ridge, and Brookhaven; these labs hosted several Roadmap workshops and provided many of the participating scientists and engineers.

As lead technical consultant, I headed the technical leadership team and had the privilege of joining forces with more than 70 working group members drawn from academia, industry, and the national labs. Built around a series of workshops launched in 2005, project has delivered a report totaling some 400 pages. It provides a picture of the state of the art in atomically precise fabrication and explores directions for both next-stage and longer-term research and applications.

Parallel developments show that the Roadmap is quite timely: As part of a study released last December, a working group under the U.S. National Research Council reviewed the physics-based analysis of molecular manufacturing that I presented in Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation and called for experimental research in the area. Subsequently, DARPA issued a request for proposals for developing tip-based nanofabrication at the threshold of atomic precision, and the U.K. government announced grants to research teams developing nanomachines that can build materials molecule by molecule.

The Technology Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems describes ways to move nanotechnology forward in directions I have outlined in my technical publications. It centers on today's capabilities, exploring the rewards we can expect from incremental advances, and links these advances to longer term objectives for atomically precise manufacturing (which, by the way, are quite unlike the popular fictions). Perhaps of greatest value, the Roadmap identifies broad criteria that can help researchers and research managers select high-payoff projects that can contribute to the emerging field of atomically precise nanosystems engineering. An area of special promise is integrating other nanotechnologies into complex, functional systems by exploiting recent breakthroughs in building self-assembling, atomically precise DNA structures.

I expect that the Roadmap will have a strong, cumulative impact on research agendas and strategic directions in the US and internationally. Its greatest impact may be in forward-looking Asian countries with an appetite for change.

— Eric Drexler        

Please direct inquiries regarding
the Roadmap document to TRPN@Battelle.org.

   Table of Contents:

Executive Summary

Part 1—The Road Map

  • Introduction
  • Atomic Precision: What, Why, and How?
  • Atomically Precise Manufacturing
  • Atomically Precise Components and Systems
  • Modeling, Design, and Characterization
  • Applications
  • Agenda for Research and Call to Action

Part 2—Topics in Detail

  • Components and Devices
  • Systems and Frameworks
  • Fabrication and Synthesis Methods
  • Modeling, Design, and Characterization

Part 3—Working Group Proceedings

  • Atomically Precise Fabrication
  • Nanoscale Structures and Fabrication
  • Motors and Movers
  • Design, Modeling, and Characterization
  • Applications

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Steering Committee

Paul Alivisatos
University of California at Berkeley

Pearl Chin
Foresight Nanotech Institute

K. Eric Drexler

Mauro Ferrari
University of Texas-Houston
Institute of Molecular Medicine

Doon Gibbs
Brookhaven National Laboratory

William Goddard III
Beckman Institute
California Institute of Technology

William Haseltine
William A. Haseltine Foundation for Medical Sciences and the Arts

Steve Jurvetson
Draper Fisher Jurvetson

Alex Kawczak
Battelle Memorial Institute

Charles Lieber
Harvard University

Christine Peterson
Foresight Nanotech Institute

John Randall
Zyvex Labs

James Roberto
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Nadrian Seeman
New York University

Rick Snyder

J. Fraser Stoddart
University of California at Los Angeles

Ted Waitt
Waitt Family Foundation

Sponsors and Hosts

Supported through grants to the Foresight Nanotech Institute by the Waitt Family Foundation (founding sponsor) and Sun Microsystems, with direct support from Nanorex, Zyvex Labs, and Synchrona. Working group meetings hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, in cooperation with Battelle Memorial Institute.

and Working Group Participants

Radoslav R. Adzic, Brookhaven National Laboratory; Damian G. Allis, Syracuse University; Ingemar André, University of Washington; Tom Autrey, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Don Baer, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Sandra Bishnoi, Illinois Institute of Technology; Brett Bosley, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Joe Bozell, University of Tennessee; Philip Britt, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Paul Burrows, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; David Cardamone, Simon Frazer University; Ashok Choudhury, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Stephanie Corchnoy, Synchrona; James Davenport, Brookhaven National Laboratory; Robert J. Davis, The Ohio State University; Shawn Decker, South Dakota School of Mines; Mitch Doktycz, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Eric Drexler, Nanorex; Joel D. Elhard, Battelle Memorial Institute; Jillian Elliot, Foresight Nanotech Institute; Doug English, University of Maryland; Leo S. Fifield, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Keith Firman, University of Portsmouth; David Forrest, Naval Surface Warfare Center; Robert A. Freitas Jr., Institute for Molecular Manufacturing; Glen E. Fryxell, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Dan Gaspar, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; David Geohegan, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Anita Goel, Nanobiosym; J. Storrs Hall, Engineering Research Institute, Institute for Molecular Manufacturing; Alex Harris, Brookhaven National Laboratory; Amy Heintz, Battelle Memorial Institute; Evelyn Hirt, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Linda Horton, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Ed Hunter, Sun Microsystems; Ilia Ivanov, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Neil Jacobstein, Institute for Molecular Manufacturing; Evan Jones, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Richard Jones, University of Sheffield; John Karanicolas, University of Washington; Alex Kawczak, Battelle Memorial Institute; David Keenan, Nanoscience Technologies; Peter C. Kong, Idaho National Laboratory; James Lewis, Foresight Nanotech Institute; Alan Liby, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Kwiang Lee Lim, Singapore Engineering Research Council; Eric Lund, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Russ Miller, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Jim Misewich, Brookhaven National Laboratory; Scott Mize, Foresight Nanotech Institute; Lorrie-Ann Neiger, Brookhaven National Laboratory; Lee Oesterling, Battelle Memorial Institute; Lori Peurrung, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; John Randall, Zyvex Labs; Fernando Reboredo, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Mark Reeves, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Steven M. Risser, Battelle Memorial Institute; Sharon Robinson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Paul W. K. Rothemund, California Institute of Technology; Jay Sayre, Battelle Memorial Institute; Christian E. Schafmeister, Temple University; Thomas Schulthess, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Nadrian Seeman, New York University; Ida Shum, Idaho National Laboratory; Mark Simpson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Dennis Smith, Clemson University; Vincent Soh, Singapore Engineering Research Council ; Jeff Soreff, IBM; Rob Tow, Sun Microsystems; Mike Thompson, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Bhima Vijayendran, Battelle Memorial Institute; Chiming Wei, American Academy of Nanomedicine; Chia-Woan Wong, Singapore Engineering Research Council; Stan Wong, Brookhaven National Laboratory