Molecular scale electronics Single molecule devices are another possibility.
Most proteins, the chemical workhorse of the cell, are roughly 10 nanometers wide; a DNA molecule is about 2. Back inIntel co-founder Gordon Moore noticed that scientists were managing every year to double the data storage capacity of silicon Nano electronics used in computers.
Now known as Moore's Law, this observation still holds true, though slightly extended - to roughly every 18 months. Engineers can now crunch some 30 million transistors onto a single microchip.
However, miniaturization attempts will soon hit a wall, say experts, when the transistor will have become so tiny, designing it will be a messy, unreliable and highly costly adventure.
A partnership between electronics and nature may turn things around. Organic molecules already include tiny yet remarkably precise functional structures, such as the ribosome, which translates incoming messages encoded as DNA to build proteins.
In microelectronics the aim would be to use organic molecules to enhance transistors, memory Nano electronics and other conventional components. Genes hooked up outside the cell Shaped through time, biological cells are the ultimate engineering systems, able to perform the most advanced information-processing known as well as producing a wonderland of overproteins.
The cell pulls off these feats in a tiny setting that engineers can only dream of. How do its systems work?
Might they be harnessed to build superfast computers or advance new biotechnologies? In a step that might help address these questions, a Weizmann scientist has now designed the first synthetic circuit able to process genetic input to produce proteins.
The circuit works on the principles of a conventional electrical circuit - that of a flashlight, for instance - but is constructed entirely of genes, proteins and other biological molecules.
Albert Libchaber and Dr. While other scientists have developed single-gene systems, this is this first time researchers have rigged up a multiple-gene circuit outside of the cell. Though rudimentary, this synthetic circuit offers an isolated and thus highly controllable environment in which to explore the workings of the cell, moreover it may represent the first step to streamlined protein production plants or advanced biocomputers.
Unlike conventional computer systems, in which information is processed through a rigid digital 0-or-1, yes-or-no framework, biological networks are able to plod toward their goal using the multi-branched routes characteristic of parallel processing. This inherent property, researchers believe, might significantly fast-forward computer processing.
When too many stages are added to the sequence, the reactions tend to fizzle out as the available resources are used up. The next step says Bar-Ziv, is to try and introduce circuitries of this sort into different materials. Once it is possible to create positive and negative feedback systems to turn things on and off, one could potentially design artificial circuits that mimic transistors, sensors, memory elements and clocks.
The approach consists of a simple two-step self assembly process, enabling the simultaneous production of hundreds of transistors, the building blocks of electronics. The transistors can be designed to recognize a wide array of biological compounds - a feature that, in addition to computing and industrial applications, might advance the production of tiny sensors that would perform diagnostic tests in the body.
The technique also offers the first-time possibility of modifying the properties of the transistor even after its production is complete.Nano electronics is the future of electronics.
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