Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

DNA may hold key to information processing and data storage

21.12.2004


The DNA molecule--nature’s premier data storage material--may hold the key for the information technology industry as it faces demands for more compact data processing and storage circuitry. A team led by Richard Kiehl, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota, has used DNA’s ability to assemble itself into predetermined patterns to construct a synthetic DNA scaffolding with regular, closely spaced docking sites that can direct the assembly of circuits for processing or storing data. The scaffolding has the potential to self-assemble components 1,000 times as densely as the best information processing circuitry and 100 times the best data storage circuitry now in the pipeline. Members of the team first published their innovation in 2003, and they have now refined the technique to allow more efficient and more versatile assembly of components. The new work, which was a collaborative effort with chemistry professors Karin Musier-Forsyth and T. Andrew Taton at Minnesota and Nadrian C. Seeman at New York University, is reported in the December issue of Nano Letters, a publication of the American Chemical Society.

"There’s a need for programmability and precision on the scale of a nanometer--a billionth of a meter--in the manufacture of high-density nanoelectronic circuitry," said Kiehl. "With DNA scaffolding, we have the potential for arranging components with a precision of one-third of a nanometer.

"In a standard silicon-based chip, information processing is limited by the distance between units that process and store information. With DNA scaffolding, we can lay out devices closely, so the interconnects are very short and the performance very high."



The DNA scaffolding is made from synthetic DNA "tiles" that spontaneously assemble in a predetermined pattern to form a sheet of molecular fabric, much like corduroy. The ripples in the fabric are formed by rows of sticky DNA strands that occur at regular intervals in the scaffolding and function as a strip of Velcro® hooks that fasten to nanocomponents coated with matching DNA strands. The nanocomponents could be metallic particles designed to process or store data in the form of an electrical or magnetic state, or they could be organic molecules--whatever would best process or store the information desired.

In the earlier work, members of the Kiehl team made DNA scaffolding with regularly spaced gold nanocomponents pre-woven into the fabric, completing the synthesis all in one operation. Now, the team first makes DNA scaffolding with regularly spaced sticky DNA strips and then adds the nanocomponents, which stick to the DNA strips in rows. This allows them to use optimal synthetic methods for both steps. It’s analogous to using strips of Velcro® in cloth: It’s much easier to get a useful pattern by first weaving cloth and Velcro® strips together, and then attaching beads or other objects to the strips later, than it is by adding the objects during the weaving process.

The new procedure also lets the team add any one of various nanocomponents--such as other metals, organic molecules or tiny electronic devices--at a later time, depending on what is needed for the application. The result is a more perfect scaffolding, better and more regular attachment of electronic units, and more diversity in the types of units and the types of circuitry that can be made.

"We can now assemble a DNA scaffolding on a preexisting template, such as a computer chip, and then--on the spot--assemble nanocomponents on top of the DNA," said Kiehl. The nanocomponents can hold electrical charge or a magnetic field, either of which would represent a bit of data, and interactions between components can act to process information. Circuitry based on regular arrays of closely spaced components could be used for quickly recognizing objects in a video image and detecting motion in a scene -- slow and difficult tasks for conventional computer chips. The technology could help computers identify objects in images with something approaching the speed of the human eye and brain, Kiehl said. The technology could also be used for various other applications, including chemical and biological sensing, in which case the strips would be designed to stick to the tiny objects or molecules to be detected.

Deane Morrison | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umn.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>