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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Computer Chips Based on DNA

In order to meet the demand for ever smaller and faster computer chips, IBM and the California Institute of Technology have been researching the use of DNA molecules in microprocessors. It turns out that the building blocks of life may help keep alive Moore’s Law that computer performance doubles every two years.

IBM researchers and Caltech scientists have found that “the tiny components that run along a chip’s silicone surface will self-adhere to previously laid down DNA patterns,”. This means that microchip designers can use DNA as a complex framework to which microscopic materials can be added to form a computer chip.

Such incredibly small-scale chip construction would be one way for computer processing speed to continue its current pace in accordance with Moore’s Law. Intel co-founder Gordon Moore predicted back in 1965 that the number of transistors on a computer chip would double about every two years.

No mention was made as to the source of the DNA molecules or whether they would in any way be subject to mutation as can happen in a living organism. InformationWeek said IBM plans to publish its research in the September issue of Nature Nanotechnology.

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