Philip Moriarty

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Philip Moriarty (1968-present) is an Irish physicist who currently works as a Professor of Physics at the University of Nottingham.

Molecular Nanotechnology

During the University of Nottingham Nanoscience Debate, in which proponents of molecular nanotechnology (Mark Sims, Josh Hall et al.) and Richard Jones debated the future of nanotechnology, including radical nanotechnology, Professor Moriarty made the following comment: "To date there has not been a single mechanosynthesis experiment, in that the most basic step in terms of abstracting a hydrogen atom from a diamond surface has not been done. That has to be proved in order to demonstrate the viability of the machine approach. I’ve never been able to square that with the statement that there are no showstoppers—not one experiment has been done, correct?"[1]

Instead of discarding the idea, he proposed an experiment and received a 1.5 million pound grant[2] (2008-2013) to investigate the potential of mechanosynthesis. A 2011 interview[3] mentioned a lack of progress in diamond mechanosynthesis, but the work on Silicon surfaces using a recently-delivered qPlus AFM had shown more progress. By 2011 the group was able to mechanically manipulate the bond angle.

As of 2012, a simple implementation of the minimal toolset before 2013 seems infeasible.

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References

  1. Research on Molecular Mechanosynthesis is Progressing Slowly, Dexter Johnson, IEEE Spectrum, March 28 2011. Available here.
  2. Digital Matter?: Towards Mechanised Mechanosynthesis, Details.
  3. Philip Moriarty discusses mechanosynthesis with Sander Olson, NextBigFuture, March 22, 2011.