IBM uses DNA to make next-gen microchips

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'DNA origami' may provide a cheap framework to build tiny microchips

SAN FRANCISCO - International Business Machines Corp is looking to the building blocks of our bodies — DNA — to be the structure of next-generation microchips.

As chipmakers compete to develop ever-smaller chips at cheaper prices, designers are struggling to cut costs.

Artificial DNA nanostructures, or "DNA origami" may provide a cheap framework on which to build tiny microchips, according to a paper published on Sunday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Microchips are used in computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.

"This is the first demonstration of using biological molecules to help with processing in the semiconductor industry," IBM research manager Spike Narayan said in an interview with Reuters.

"Basically, this is telling us that biological structures like DNA actually offer some very reproducible, repetitive kinds of patterns that we can actually leverage in semiconductor processes," he said.

The research was a joint undertaking by scientists at IBM's Almaden Research Center and the California Institute of Technology.

Right now, the tinier the chip, the more expensive the equipment. Narayan said that if the DNA origami process scales to production-level, manufacturers could trade hundreds of millions of dollars in complex tools for less than a million dollars of polymers, DNA solutions, and heating implements. continues here

Should the fusion between biological and industrial reach completion, it should be eminently possible to create chips that are not rejected by our multicellular organism as pathogens or indeed foreign bodies. Of course, the use of such technology depends upon those that would wield its power and we have seen already, that those that possess such technology do not always do so in the public interest. Even this development came about due to a desire to achieve financial gain, rather than a desire to save lives, yet should such a fusion prove plausible then implants of many varieties may be possible, coupled with stem cell research it is one to watch…

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