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James B. Lewis Enterprises

Nanotechnology Consulting and Writing

1996 - 2009

Most of my writing on nanotechnology has been as Research Analyst and Technical Editor for the Foresight Institute. The most substantial of this work was two pieces on structural DNA nanotechnology that I wrote in 2007 for the Productive Nanosystems Technology Roadmap. Most recently, independently of my work for the Foresight Institute, I wrote a long overview article on the development of advanced nanotechnology that was published in the Journal of Geoethical Nanotechnology.

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Nanotechnology Progress Articles

Between 2002 and 2007 I wrote a number of articles for the Foresight Update newsletter describing research advances in nanotechnology. As I wrote in introducing this series of articles, they are focused on developments that I considered steps along various paths that might lead toward molecular manufacturing and nanofactories. These articles are archived on the web sites of the Foresight Institute and the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing.

Book Reviews and Other Nanotechnology Articles

Here is a list of links to book reviews and other articles related to nanotechnology that I wrote for Foresight Update between 1997 and 2007.

News Digest and Nanodot Blog

I served as editor or the Foresight Update for issues 50, 51, 52, 53, 54 (7.3 MB PDF), and 58. I have also been editor of the Foresight Nanotech Institute Weekly News Digest since January 24, 2007. I have also posted regularly on Foresight's nanotechnology blog Nanodot from July 2002 through November 2003 and since February 2008. My Nanodot posts and my work as editor of the Weekly News Digest have helped me to keep in touch with what is happening in nanotechnology—from near term applications to nanoscience, medicine, energy, and computing, to developments in core technologies that might lead to advanced nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing.

Here are links to a few of my more recent Nanodot posts that point to promising steps toward advanced nanotechnology:

Productive Nanosystems Roadmap Articles

During 2007 I participated in a first attempt to map the developments needed to move from current capabilities in nanotechnology to advanced systems. Productive Nanosystems: A Technology Roadmap was developed by Foresight Nanotech Institute and Battelle, with initial funding from the Waitt Family Foundation. I wrote two papers for the Working Group Proceedings (210 pages, 14.6 MB PDF) part of the roadmap.

"Nucleic Acid Engineering" J. Lewis, pages 07-1 to 07-7
"Structural DNA nanotechnology provides the ability to construct molecularly precise structures based upon the well understood molecular recognition properties of DNA. Numerous molecularly precise DNA nanostructures have been demonstrated. Some are capable of controlled movements, using multiple mechanisms to generate motion. DNA nanostructures can be constructed to incorporate a wide range of chemical functions. Micron-scale and larger 2- dimensional periodic arrays of DNA nanostructures have been built. At the scale of 100 to several hundred nanometers, DNA nanostructures can be arranged in an arbitrary aperiodic pattern in two dimensions, and there is reasonable hope that this ability can soon be extended to three dimensions. Molecular biology and the biotechnology industry provide a well developed infrastructure for the technology: a wide range of DNA molecules, reagents, and methods useful for creating and characterizing DNA nanostructures. The most recently developed and perhaps the most promising approach to structural DNA nanotechnology—scaffolded DNA origami—enables quick and inexpensive implementation with ~5 nm resolution and lends itself to automated design and manufacture."

"DNA as an Aid to Self-Assembly" J. Lewis, pages 08-1 to 08-9
"The potential role of DNA in the assembly of atomically precise structures goes far beyond 'smart glue' to link specific nanostructures to form larger arrays. Structural DNA nanotechnology (see accompanying article "Nucleic acid engineering") provides tiles than can be assembled in a programmed fashion to form a wide variety of nanotubes, two-dimensional arrays, and eventually three-dimensional arrays. DNA nanotubes could potentially provide scaffolding and transport of cargo for productive nanosystems. DNA nanostructures have already been used to organize arrays of guest molecules and nanostructures. DNA devices that 'walk' along DNA tracks, organize components for covalent bond formation, and function mechanically in a DNA array have also been demonstrated."

Summarizing progress toward advanced nanotechnology

I recently wrote a 10,000-word article to provide an overview of the road from current to advanced nanotechnology, with emphasis on the most significant advances since the Productive Nanosystems Roadmap was completed in mid-2007.

"Productive Nanosystems as a Milestone Toward Geoethical Nanotechnology" James B. Lewis, Ph.D., Journal of Geoethical Nanotechnology, Volume 4, Issue 1 May 2009
"Dr. Lewis expertly discusses the growing field of nanotechnology, its current roadmap, and implementing manufacturing processes necessary to solving many of the world's problems."

Exploring similarities and differences between recombinant DNA technology and self-replicating molecular manufacturing

I wrote a 4,000-word article for Terasem Movement, Inc.'s 5th Annual Workshop on Geoethical Nanotechnology (held on July 20, 2009 at the Terasem Island Amphitheatre in the virtual meeting environment of "Second Life") examining to what extent the 1975 Asilomar Conference, held to recommend safety procedures for recombinant DNA research, provides a model for regulating self-replicating molecular manufacturing, once this technology becomes imminent.

"Recombinant DNA and Self-replicating Molecular Manufacturing: Parallels and Lessons" James B. Lewis, Ph.D., Journal of Geoethical Nanotechnology, Volume 4, Issue 2 4th Quarter 2009
Dr. Lewis expounds on why an Asilomar-like conference, as well as other venues involving relevant members of the scientific and technical communities, should be explored to identify and avoid immediate threats to public safety at such time when self-replicating nanotechnology is imminent.

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Last updated 10October2010.
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