Bridging the gaps

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This article is a stub. It needs to be expanded.

For the successful development of a gem-gum factory several gaps need to be bridged.

  • the gap in scale: top-down to bottom up gap
  • the gap in time: present-forward to future-backward gap

(wiki-TODO: Add illustration with four hands before and after linking up, cracks as gaps and tech sketches.)

  • the conceptual gap: the gap between scientific thinking and engineer-like thinking in the field of experts on both sides. Leading to a misjudgment of the reliability of predictions and consequently a lack of motivation.
  • the institutional gap: the incompatibility gap between between results of many small and independent science groups (unnecessarily stalling progress). Gaps between established fields of science (disciplines, interdisciplinary).

  • the gap between APM expert knowledge and public perception. Exactly what this wiki here is attempting to fill.
  • the gaps between the various parties involved in the history conflict about APM

The gap in scale

Actually the smallest possible structures that can be produced photolitographically today (2018) are already smaller than the biggest atomically precise sturctures that can be self-assembled.


The issue is that these smallest photographically producible structures:

  • are purely electrical, mechanical ones (MEMS) are still quite a bit bigger
  • the facilities producing these record holding small structures are so exorbitantly expensive that they are only available for mass production of devices and not for research groups.

bottom up

Development heavy R&D.
Basically the early steps in the incremental path.

The gap in time

This is actually a gap in the timeless landscape of technology mapped onto time (and space). A gap from and to technologies that the laws of physics fundamentally allow, just that some technologies already implemented while others aren't (yet).

Its very easy to miss this subtle but important difference. This difference is the reason why we, when we ask the right exploratory engineering questions, can get some very reliable (but admittedly narrow) glimpses of aspects of future technology. Why this whole wiki makes sense in the first place.


Development heavy R&D.
Basically the early steps in the incremental path.


This is about preparatory design that creates:


  • preliminary experimentally testing advanced mechanosynthetic reactions with the limited means available (slow crude SPM tips)
  • preliminary theoretic investigation of mechanosynthetic processes (closed tooltip cycles, ...)
  • preliminary design of different types of crystolecule to establish and grow a convex hull of points in design space. A convex hull spanning an "volume" in design space of what should be (with high reliability) possible.

These efforts overlap with the direct path approach,
with the difference that there is a strong focus on trying to tie the results together with the most advanced results of the incremental path.
e.g. mouing advanced tool-tips onto self assembled protein nano-robotics.


  • Why citizen science or (better citizen R&D) faces challenges (for closing the gaps).