from the some-chips-are-longer-than-others dept.
snydeq writes "Scientists at IBM are experimenting with using DNA molecules as a way to create tiny circuits that could form the basis of smaller, more powerful computer chips. The technique builds on work done by Cal Tech's Paul Rothemund, who found that DNA molecules can be made to 'self-assemble' into tiny forms [PDF] such as triangles, squares and stars. 'To make a chip, the scientists first create lithographic templates using traditional chip making techniques. After, they pour a DNA solution over the surface of the silicon and the tiny triangles and squares — what the scientists call DNA origami — line themselves up to the patterns etched out using lithography.' DNA-based chips may sound like crackpot tech, but those involved believe the methodology could lead to a new way of fabricating features on the surface of chips that allows semiconductors to be made even smaller, faster and more power-efficient than they are today."
from the almost-doesn't-count dept.
Aditya Malik writes "Wired has an interesting story up about how a lab led by Jack Szostak, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School, is building 'protocells' from artificial molecules which are very close to satisfying the conditions for being 'alive.' 'Szostak's protocells are built from fatty molecules that can trap bits of nucleic acids that contain the source code for replication. Combined with a process that harnesses external energy from the sun or chemical reactions, they could form a self-replicating, evolving system that satisfies the conditions of life, but isn't anything like life on earth now, but might represent life as it began or could exist elsewhere in the universe.' This obviously raises some questions about creationism, not to mention some scary bio-research-gone-wild scenarios."