A nanosized conveyor belt might be adapted for use as the world’s smallest soldering iron.
Currently atomic level manipulation is done by chemical reactions or by using nanoprobes to nudge atoms into new locations, one at a time. The nano-conveyor can move hundred of thousands of atoms in a flow through carbon nanotubes.
The nano-soldering iron was created at the University of California Berkeley by Alex Zettl. The process beings with carbon nanotubes being spayed with gaseous indium. The indium metal condenses into solid droplets between one and 10 nanometres wide. A traditional nano-manipulator is used to connect the tubes to a power source and the current melts the droplets. The droplets then move along the nanotubes to the negative end. Voltage variations result in corresponding changes to the speed of the material flow.
The liquid gathered at the end of the nanotubes could then be used to solder minute components together. The same effect can be made with gold, tin and platinum.