What is Zettatechnology? - News Item

In a background paper to the Royal Society's Working Group on nanotechnology Dr. K. Eric Drexler, the Chairman of the Foresight Institute has used the term Zettatechnology to describe molecular manufacturing and the derived products of that technology.

As the term nanotechnology has been adopted by the broad community to cover any development that utilises sufficient nanoscale features, Drexler argues that the term is misleading when applied to the Feynman vision of precise, atomic scale construction by nanomachines. Since a macro-sized product of future molecular manufacturing techniques is likely to have around a sextillion (1021) distinct atomic parts he has based the name on the prefix of that number - "zetta". Thus the term "zettatechnology" describes molecular manufacturing and its products.

Posted 29th October 2003

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