mobile | classic
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology Magazine





Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn


Search...

Electronics Buyers' Guide

Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook 2019


 

DNA could be backbone of next-gen ICs
9 June 2010, News

In a single day, a solitary grad student at a lab bench can produce more simple logic circuits than the world’s entire output of silicon chips in a month.

So says a Duke University engineer, who believes that the next generation of these logic circuits at the heart of computers will be produced inexpensively in almost limitless quantities. The secret is that instead of silicon chips serving as the platform for electric circuits, computer engineers will take advantage of the unique properties of DNA, that double-helix carrier of all life’s information.

In his latest set of experiments, Chris Dwyer, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, demonstrated that by simply mixing customised snippets of DNA and other molecules, he could create literally billions of identical, tiny, waffle-looking structures. These nanostructures can then be used as the building blocks for a variety of applications, ranging from the biomedical to the computational.

“When light is shined on the chromophores, they absorb it, exciting the electrons,” Dwyer said. “The energy released passes to a different type of chromophore nearby that absorbs the energy and then emits light of a different wavelength. That difference means this output light can be easily differentiated from the input light, using a detector.”

Instead of conventional circuits using electrical current to rapidly switch between zeros or ones, light can be used to stimulate similar responses from the DNA-based switches – and much faster.

“This is the first demonstration of such an active and rapid processing and sensing capacity at the molecular level,” Dwyer said. The results of his experiments were published online in the journal Small. “Conventional technology has reached its physical limits. The ability to cheaply produce virtually unlimited supplies of these tiny circuits seems to me to be the next logical step.”

DNA is a well-understood molecule made up of pairs of complementary nucleotide bases that have an affinity for each other. Customised snippets of DNA can cheaply be synthesised by putting the pairs in any order. In their experiments, the researchers took advantage of DNA’s natural ability to latch onto corresponding and specific areas of other DNA snippets.

Dwyer uses a jigsaw puzzle analogy to describe the process of what happens when all the waffle ingredients are mixed together in a container. “It is like taking pieces of a puzzle, throwing them in a box and as you shake the box, the pieces gradually find their neighbours to form the puzzle,” he said. “What we did was to take billions of these puzzle pieces and throw them together to form billions of copies of the same puzzle.”

In the current experiments, the waffle puzzle had 16 pieces, with the chromophores located atop the waffle’s ridges. More complex circuits can be created by building structures composed of many of these small components, or by building larger waffles. The possibilities are limitless, according to Dwyer. In addition to their use in computing, Dwyer said that since these nanostructures are basically sensors, many biomedical applications are possible. Tiny nanostructures could be built that could respond to different proteins that are markers for disease in a single drop of blood.


  Share on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn    

Further reading:

  • Wits University to feature at AI Expo Africa
    31 July 2019, News
    Wits University will be sending a high-level delegation to this year’s AI Expo Africa, where it will launch a major research initiative that is intended to bring about a step change in scientific research ...
  • Celebrating 15 years of Laser Stencil Technology
    31 July 2019, Laser Stencil Technology, News
    Since its inception in 2004, Laser Stencil Technology has grown into a prominent figure in the South African electronics manufacturing industry. Having been involved in circuit board manufacturing using ...
  • From the editor’s desk: Embedded computing drives change
    31 July 2019, Technews Publishing, News
    Mike Goodyer says it best in the title of his article on page 16: “The only constant is change.” While he meant that in relation to developments at Microtronix Manufacturing and within the local electronics ...
  • Electronics news digest
    31 July 2019, News
    South Africa The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has appointed Sipho Mbhokota as the new executive manager for CSIR Defence and Security. His career in the defence and security ...
  • Rugged Interconnect and Pentek further cement partnership
    31 July 2019, Rugged Interconnect Technologies, News
    In May this year, Rugged Interconnect Technologies hosted the co-founder and vice president of Pentek, Rodger Hosking, for a week-long visit to reinforce the two companies’ partnership in the South African market.
  • SA security manufacturers going strong
    31 July 2019, News
    Dataweek spoke to two of the leaders in the local market about what they do, what they’ve been up to, and what their plans are for the future.
  • Clearing the Static: ESD testing and monitoring – Part 3
    31 July 2019, Altico Static Control Solutions, News
    Continuous monitoring and testing are key to effective static charge control. To ensure there are no loopholes in your ESD control programme, all ESD equipment, as well as personnel operating it, need ...
  • Demand for local products highlighted at LME expo
    31 July 2019, News
    The Local Southern African Manufacturing Expo (LME), held in Johannesburg in late May, managed to draw a respectable 3473 visitors in its first ever outing. “The Expo was the culmination of a vision that ...
  • Analog Devices explores use-cases for wearable devices
    31 July 2019, Altron Arrow, News
    In general, it is not just about exercising more or better nutritional intake – there is more interest in monitoring certain vital body parameters. This is the reason why companies in the smart watch ...
  • Company profile: BAMR
    31 July 2019, BAMR, News
    BAMR is a Cape Town-based company that supplies, repairs, services and calibrates instruments, especially in the coatings, corrosion, physical paint testing and allied industries. It has been the supplier ...
  • Electronics news digest
    26 June 2019, News
    South Africa • South Africa is looking to take on a leading role in the international space weather monitoring community. Space weather events are capable of seriously disrupting modern technologies ...
  • Clearing the static: ESD testing and monitoring – Part 2
    26 June 2019, Altico Static Control Solutions, News
    Once you’ve identified an ESD protected area (EPA) and the combination of ESD (electrostatic discharge) control products your facility requires, continuous testing and monitoring need to be conducted. ...

 
 
         
Contact:
Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronics Buyers’ Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Other
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual





 

         
    Classic | Mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.