Foggy Bottom reports:
NASA-funded researchers at Purdue University have attached magnetic “nanoparticles” to DNA and cut these “DNA wires” into pieces, offering the promise of creating low-cost, self-assembling devices for future computers.
Because DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, has an overall negative charge, it might be used in a process called self-assembly to create electronic devices, according to a February 28 Purdue University press release.
When placed in a solution with magnetic particles that have a positive charge, the particles are automatically attracted to the DNA strands, which act as tiny scaffolds for creating wires.
The term nano is from a nanometer — one billionth of a meter. Self-assembly may be used in the future to create electronic devices at a lower cost than is possible with conventional manufacturing processes.
Other researchers have “metalized” DNA by coating it with copper, gold and platinum, but no one has coated DNA and then cut the strands into smaller pieces using a “restriction enzyme,” a class of enzyme that causes DNA to fragment, said graduate student Joseph Kinsella.
Because magnetic components are essential for computer memory, the findings represent potential future applications for DNA-based structures in computers created with molecular electronics, in which biological molecules might be harnessed to create devices for computers, sensors and other uses.
The Purdue University press release…