Next Gen Biological Computers Use Gold And DNA

DNAGold, DNA, Future Tech. Let the apocalypse/conspiracy theories fly. io9 reports via a Nature Materials article:

Researchers have fabricated a lattice out of gold and virus fragments. It could make your computer much faster. And turn it into a biological machine.

Optical computing technology, a growing field in the tech sector, involves computers that send data using beams of light. In order to expand the capabilities of optical computing, engineers are required to find materials that manipulate light very precisely. Photonic crystals are one such helpful material. A photonic crystal can block very precise wavelengths of light, making it a great optical tool. But creating such a crystal is a challenge. Now scientists have tested a new method for making them, and they have done using the coolest materials possible: Gold and virus parts.

Tiny gold nanospheres and pieces of virus were hooked together using strands of DNA. The DNA pieces were created specifically for the experiment. Small spheres of gold attach to certain base pairs and form part of the lattice. Gold, while malleable for a metal, is relatively heavy and rigid for such a small structure. The lattice is made more bendable by its organic component, capsids, which are what make up the protein shells of viruses. These bits of virus ‘skin’ string together the tough gold spheres.

A mix of all of these components – DNA, capsids, and gold spheres – self-assembles into a lattice. The structure of that lattice can, with certain materials, be made into a photonic crystal. No one would have to build a crystal to use in optical computing, mixing together the right ingredients could make it build itself…

Article continues at io9. For the original, more in-depth article, see Nature Materials.

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12 Responses to Next Gen Biological Computers Use Gold And DNA

  1. Ironaddict06 January 31, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    Amazing. I hope I live long enough to see todays science fiction become science fact.

  2. Ironaddict06 January 31, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    Amazing. I hope I live long enough to see todays science fiction become science fact.

    • VoxMagi January 31, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

      God I hope not…most of our sci fi is crap these days.

      But I agree about the article…bloody amazing. Discoveries like this make my heart leap with excitement…and a vague sense of hope that maybe we really are smart enough to solve most of our problems eventually.

  3. Chaorder Gradient January 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    Of course! our robot masters need to be made out of gold so they can have a superiority complex over how expensive they are to make.

  4. Chaorder Gradient January 31, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    Of course! our robot masters need to be made out of gold so they can have a superiority complex over how expensive they are to make.

  5. Chaorder Gradient January 31, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Of course! our robot masters need to be made out of gold so they can have a superiority complex over how expensive they are to make.

  6. VoxMagi January 31, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    God I hope not…most of our sci fi is crap these days.

    But I agree about the article…bloody amazing. Discoveries like this make my heart leap with excitement…and a vague sense of hope that maybe we really are smart enough to solve most of our problems eventually.

  7. Andrew January 31, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    I, for one, welcome our Gold Virus overlords.

  8. Andrew January 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    I, for one, welcome our Gold Virus overlords.

    • VoxMagi January 31, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

      lol…”Our science is so badass, even the common colds got bling now!!

  9. VoxMagi January 31, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    lol…”Our science is so badass, even the common colds got bling now!!

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