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Why understanding seems stuck:

I count five kinds of nanotechnology, of which only three are called by that name. Of the three, one is a revolutionary prospect, one is a fantasy, and the third is mostly materials science. As for the other two kinds, one is the heart of today’s greatest technological revolution, while the other is the basis for progress toward the revolutionary prospect — but neither of these is called “nanotechnology”.

The types are:

  • Nanoelectric systems
  • Atomically precise manufacturing
  • Miraculous nanobots
  • Nanomaterials, nanodevices
  • Molecular design and synthesis
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    I work in nanodevice physics, specifically 2D materials. The actual materials science part is a surprisingly small portion of what actually goes on in the field.

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      I would love to hear more about this!

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      Which is which? :)

      (Yes, I know I could read the article myself and find out! But as long as you’re excerpting… ;)

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        Drexler’s idea of nanotechnology is getting to atomically precise manufacturing via molecular design and synthesis. Nanobots are the fictional misrepresentation of Drexlerian nanotechnology. Nanomaterials is the stuff which people who aren’t Drexler who say they do nanotechnology are doing, and nanoelectric systems (the ongoing technological revolution) are just modern integrated circuits.

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          To confirm my own understanding:

          Of the three, one is a revolutionary prospect,

          That would be “atomically precise engineering”…

          one is a fantasy,

          (“miraculous nanobots”)…

          and the third is mostly materials science.

          (“nanomaterials, nanodevices”)…

          As for the other two kinds, one is the heart of today’s greatest technological revolution,

          (“nanoelectronic systems”)…

          while the other is the basis for progress toward the revolutionary prospect

          (“molecular design and synthesis”).

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