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A nanofoundry is considered to be a foundry that performs on a scale similar to nanotechnology. This concept makes it similar to the role that the nanofactory would play because it is considered to be a factory that operates on that same scale model. The closest thing that nature has to a nanofoundry is the simple biological cell.[1]


General information[edit]

In silico biology attempts to duplicate nature by creating a virtual cell with the complete cycle of metabolism.[1] The idea of creating an artificial cell along with working nanofoundries is highlighted in the phenomena of bioconvergence; which may advance us from the Information Age to the "Nanotechnology Age.[1]" Nanofoundries and artificial cells are creating a world where health care, the very definition of "medicine", along with life itself is entering a state of transition.[1] This phenomenon is directly in parallel with changes in the procedures used in agriculture, managing our bioresources, ultimately leading up to the de facto equivalent of bio-engineering entire ecosystems from scratch.[1]

As of 2011 the latest area of research involved using both micro- and nano-focused ion beams is found using nanomachining.[2] Preliminary studies have indicated that tissues can be successfully grown on three-dimensional structures while using ion beams on a substrate.[2]

On a larger scale, materials that appear to be smooth still have an abrasive appearance to them.[3] Using the nanoscale, however, atoms rub off one a time.[3] This creates new challenges for researchers who build their devices that are only 10 atoms wide.[3]

Current progress[edit]

One of the first nanofoundries has been set up at the University of Madras in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.[4] Knowledge about nanotechnology would be converted into useful consumer goods through the usage of nanofoundries.[4] Scientists do not want nanotechnology to be confined to publishing research papers in journals when it could be useful for creating nanotechnology-enhanced consumer products that would be beneficial in our 21st century society.[4] By converting the nanotechnology curriculum of the major universities into a more industry-oriented format, it makes the technology more practical for employers as well as consumers.[4]

The ability to grow more complex structures with a high ratio allows for drug release devices, biosensors, nanoreactors, and other countless discoveries.[2] During the following decades to come, researchers will scramble to construct the world's first nuclear nanobeam complex.[2] This facility would offer state-of-the-art facilities to a wide range of disciplines; including the conventional sciences.[2]

Commercial manufacturing could easily be scaled up thanks to nanofoundries.[3] Nanofactories will most likely use metal nanoparticles instead of glass, plastic or rare earth minerals that are currently used to make most of our products.[5]