Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines

© 2004 Robert A. Freitas Jr. and Ralph C. Merkle. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Ralph C. Merkle, Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 2004.


4.13 Goddard Proposed Assembler Simulation Study (1996)

In 1996, William A. Goddard and colleagues [2327] proposed a series of molecular dynamics simulations of simple assemblers, as part of their Computational Nanotechnology Project at the California Institute of Technology, although by 2001 funding for the assembler studies had not yet materialized. According to Goddard’s original proposal:

“Dynamic tests of a molecular assembler. Ultimately we need a programmable synthetic system to make a real device. Even though we may not have tools for all the chemical steps and may not have designs for all the pumps, engines, and transmissions needed, we propose to study the dynamics of simplified prototype assemblers. In these studies we anticipate having (1) a reservoir or supplies area for providing the various building units (atoms and fragments) required, (2) a work area in which we construct the nanomachine device (initially we will consider assembling the structure on top of a diamond surface), and (3) a molecular scale nano-hand which will extract the atoms from (1) and carry them to (2). We will then use extensions of our MPSim massive molecular dynamics program to operate the system: moving the tip from reservoir to work area, moving it to contact the appropriate surface site, moving it to regenerate the active tip, and then moving it back to add new atoms and molecules. This will include proper temperature effects, molecular vibrations, energy release upon the various chemical steps, etc. The ground rules here are that a realistic force field be used and that all pieces be treated at the atomic level (but some might be semi-rigid). This will use the force field developed for nanosynthesis. The purpose of these simulations is to examine issues of vibration caused by chemical forces as the tool picks up and delivers atoms to the growing surface. Also we want to consider the effect of energy release in the chemical steps on the thermal fluctuations in these systems (which may cause displacements and vibrations).”


Last updated on 1 August 2005