Ralph Merkle speaks at the 2008 Convergence unconference. Diamond mechanosynthesis (DMS), or molecular positional fabrication, is the formation of covalent chemical bonds using precisely applied mechanical forces to build diamondoid structures. DMS may be automated via computer control, enabling programmable molecular positional fabrication.
Molecularly precise fabrication involves holding feedstock atoms or molecules, and a growing nanoscale workpiece, in the proper relative positions and orientations so that when they touch they will join together in the desired manner.
In this process, a mechanosynthetic tool will be brought up to the surface of a workpiece. One or more transfer atoms are added to, or removed from, the workpiece by the tool. Then the tool is withdrawn and recharged. This process is repeated until the workpiece (e.g., a growing nanopart) is completely fabricated to molecular precision with each atom in exactly the right place. Note that the transfer atoms are under positional control* at all times to prevent unwanted side reactions from occurring.