A nanofactory is a hypothetical system in which nanomachines (machines built at sizes of 1 to 100nm i.e. nanoscale) would combine certain atoms and molecules to synthesize atomically-precise pieces. These pieces would in turn be used to build macroscopic products.
The technology of nanofactories
A nanofactory is a concept of nanotechnology, which is still in a very nascent stage. Laboratories across the globe are engaged in deep research as to how nanofactories can be practicable. It has been predicted that nanomachines, set to ‘work’ in a nanofactory could use the so-called ‘bottom-up’ approach proposed for the building of nanoparticles.
Nanoparticles, manufactured to the scale of a few atoms or molecules, can be used in a vast variety of fields, if theories and hypotheses could one day come into real practice. It will become much easier to produce these particles, and thus aid many fields like semiconductor electronics and medical research. It would also prevent scientists form restricting themselves to the ‘top-down’ approach towards nanotechnology, in which atomic precision is obtained by cutting away fine details of the product to be fabricated. It is nearly impossible to assemble items such as computer chips, due to the sky-high infrastructural costs involved. However nanofactories can make assembly of computer chips possible with the use of nanomachines to put together atoms.
Additionally, it has been projected that in the future, nanotechnology can be used in advanced chemistry as well, in order to assemble molecules of desired allotropes or compounds. This means that low-cost, light weight and yet extremely hard synthetic diamonds could become an amazing reality.