Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities

© 1999 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Nanomedicine, Volume I: Basic Capabilities, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 1999


5.3.5 Reconfiguring Surface-Penetrating Elements

The ability to reshape a nanodevice surface implies that some configurational flexibility of external components is required. It must be possible to add, remove, or reposition stable nanodevice elements whose function requires penetrating the metamorphic surface, including sensors (Chapter 4), manipulators (Section 9.3), sorting rotor banks (Section 3.4.2), antigen semaphores (Section 5.3.6), and bulk material intake and outlet ports. A schematic of the process for removing such an element from the surface while maintaining watertightness is shown in Figure 5.17; to install an element, the process is reversed.

Some limited configurational flexibility of internal nanorobot components may also be useful but should be restricted to nonessential or insensitive systems to avoid unnecessarily multiplying system complexity. Any movable trusswork should rotate around a configurationally stable core. Storage areas, nanofactory work volumes, pressure vessels, fluid/tool transfer pathways, and voids are the easiest internal elements to compress or reshape during a nanodevice reconfiguration event. Internal transfer stream mechanisms like conveyor belts may be designed modularly to permit limited modifications of device functionality. A few special purpose internal subsystems may tolerate positional or rotational uncertainty. For example, a clocking subsystem emitting a synchronizing periodic omnidirectional acoustic click may lie in any orientation within the nanorobot; acoustic transit time across a 1-micron diamondoid nanorobot is ~10-10 sec < Dtmin (~10-9 sec; Section 10.1), thus the clock may be positionally insensitive as well.


Last updated on 18 February 2003