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open-source nanotech CAD

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NanoEngineer: open-source nanotech CAD

NanoEngineer-1 is an open-source molecular modeling and simulation system that looks and feels like SolidWorks. It features an easy-to-use interactive 3D graphical user interface for designing and modeling large, atomically precise composite systems like molecular machines, DNA, carbon nanotubes, peptide chains, machine elements, etc.

For simulation and analysis, NanoEngineer-1 supports multiple molecular dynamics and quantum mechanics systems in a single environment, providing a wide range of nano-scale simulation capabilities. The following molecular dynamics and quantum chemistry packages are supported:


1. Gallery

1.1. Molecular machines

1.2. Carbon nanotubes

1.3. Structural DNA nanotechnology

1.4. Molecular manufacturing

1.5. About these images

2. Helpful links and installing

3. Installing from source

4. Video

Developer/user group:

1. Gallery

1.1. Molecular machines

1.2. Carbon nanotubes

1.3. Structural DNA nanotechnology

1.4. Molecular manufacturing

1.5. About these images

More information about these images can be found on the gallery.

Many of the images and animations in these galleries have been rendered with QuteMol, a new open-source, interactive, high quality molecular visualization system which exploits the latest GPU capabilities through OpenGL shaders to offers an array of innovative visual effects.

2. Helpful links and installing

  • Nanorex
  • mailing list
  • wiki

In particular:

3. Installing from source

Nanoengineer is a tricky beast to install. The 2008 release will install and run on OS X and Windows. Compiling and running from source on Linux is the current ongoing project. To facilitate this effort, users can either create a chroot and install an older distribution of Ubuntu, or download a ready-made chroot. The development efforts are presently centered around upgrading dependencies in successive versions of modernized Ubuntu chroots, instead of trying to fix all problems simultaneously while running NanoEngineer on a modern GNU/Linux distribution.

To download and use the chroot:

# download the ready-made chroot archive

extract the chroot

tar -zxvf nanoengineer-chroot.tar.gz

mount these things if you want the GUI to work

for i in etc/resolv.conf tmp proc dev; do sudo mount --bind /$i nanoengineer-chroot/$i; done

allow connections from other uids over the local X11 socket

xhost +local:

jump in

sudo chroot nanoengineer-chroot/

now run nanoengineer

su nanoengineeruser -c "python ~/code/nanoengineer/cad/src/"

if you have a radeon or intel video hardware, it's possible that this 2007 userspace will be able to use /dev/dri/0

after verifying nanoengineer runs with libgl1-mesa-swx11, you may want to replace that with an accelerated solution

apt-get install libgl1-mesa-glx libgl1-mesa-dri

verify direct rendering. this is only expected to work if it also works outside the chroot.

DISPLAY=:0 glxinfo | grep direct

Alternatively, you can follow instructions to create a chroot. Developers can be reached on the mailing list or on in the ##hplusroadmap channel.

4. Nanofactory video

The nanofactory animation was funded by a challenge grant. Read more here (Foresight Institute). The original files are here and here.

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