The defining traits of gem-gum-tec
There are two core ideas that determine what the R&D direction from early forms of APM to advanced forms of APM actually is.
This wiki will refer to those two ideas with the shorthand "gem-gum".
This shorthand has been chosen since:
- it is catchy, in other words easy to spell and remember.
whereas "high throughput atomically precise manufacturing" and "atomically precise manufacturing level technology" are not.
(Source of these rather long terms: "Radical Abundance")
- it is highly specific and thus hard to annex by other concepts. It very clearly points to the far term goal
which the therm "high throughput atomically precise manufacturing level technology" does not.
- 1 The two core ideas of gem-gum-tec
- 2 The hierarchy of realms of materials
- 3 Related
The two core ideas of gem-gum-tec
Gradual increase of the stiffness of the materials we build with is the ultimate key to raise our level of control over matter (the key to advanced mechanosynthesis). The term "gem" (short for gemstone) points exclusively to the ideal stiff base materials of the far term target technology. This explicitly excludes early stage atomically precise manufacturing such as "structural DNA nanotechnology" from being necessarily present in the far term target technology.
Here's a list of peculiarly good materials from the perspective of mechanical properties:
Base materials with high potential
Core idea #2 Gem-Gum:
Short for gemstone based mechanical metamaterials with seemingly contradicting and impossible properties. "Gum" (in the sense of rubber like stuff) made out of gemstone, is just a catchy example.
Even when one can mechanosynthesize almost nothing (just a few simple base materials) one can make almost anything by mechanical emulation. This is the "magic" of mechanical metamaterials. "Gum" is just a shorthand for one concrete example of such a metamaterial that rhymes on "Gem" which makes memorization a lot easier. Also it's a concrete example that's rather un-intuitive. Rubber made from gemstone. This could peak interest (click-bait effect).
Even with very minimal high stiffness nano-manufacturing capabilities (e.g. just one single high performance compound like e.g. diamond and nothing else) the amount of materials creatable will far exceed what is available today.
The hierarchy of realms of materials
- are our current day non atomically precise materials
- future gem-gum metamaterials
- materials beyond (all sufficiently stable configurations of atoms that physics allows for)
Giving a wild and crude analogy:
What is referred to with "materials beyond" is a bit like the transcentental irrational numbers in math (e, pi, ...).
Albeit we know there are much more of these numbers around than there are rational numbers they
can only be discovered in a one off fashion. More directed development efforts are only possible for subclasses of newly discovered base cases.
"Materials beyond" are not the primary focus for gem-gum tech.
Making almost any physically possible arrangements of atoms – A skill that is neither needed nor highly desired
APM is sometimes said to have the goal to:
- Create most arrangements (or patterns) of atoms that are permitted by and consistent with physical law.
But that is even beyond the far term goal of gem-gum factories.
Due to the strong "safe side wrong" (more formally "conservative") approach of exploratory engineering the reliably predictable part of future tecnology is just the innermost naked core of what will really emerge. Part of this "innermost naked core" are just a few base materials. But these few alone are, when made into (mechanical) metamaterials, already sufficient for the emulation of an overwhelming plethora of material properties that goes far beyond what we have today (2017).
Much of the yet to come stuff that cannot yet be expected from the incremental path (including fundamentally unpredictable scientific discoveries) may remain in the final systems. But there also often will be strong reasons to ditch earlier legacy technology to not unnecessarily limit the range of situations in which the advanced products will be usable in.
See related page: Consistent design for external limiting factors
The space of all possible gem-gum Materials - Unfathomably big yet also vanishingly small
Gemstone based mechanical metamaterials (here called "gem-gum") are a clear (and relatively simple) far term goal of APM. "Gem-gum" will extend the material properties that are available to us today to material properties that currently are deemed exotic or even contradictory and seemingly impossible.
In the process of getting towards the far term goal of "gem-gum" even further reaching capabilities are likely to become accessible that can provide material properties even beyond those that "gem-gum" can provide. One example would be: Direct mechanosynthesis of digestible food molecules. But these materials are even further out and even harder to predict. Related is: "Synthesis of food".