Tricking Cells Into Making Silicon Chips
A research team at CalTech in San Diego has mutated bacterial DNA, producing an enzyme which can bind carbon with silicon - the very stuff of microprocessors.
(Caltech scientists coax cells into silicon bonds)
‘We decided to get nature to do what only chemists could do, only better,’ said Frances Arnold, a researcher at CalTech and principal investigator on the study.
The team isolated a protein found in a bacterium which bathes in the hot springs of Iceland.
Called cytochrome c, it is used by cells to share out electrons, but at low levels it was also seen to combine silicon and carbon.
By tweaking the bacterium’s genetic instructions for the protein, they were able to target an iron-containing region of the protein responsible for the silicon-carbon bonds.
The resulting protein is an enzyme able to make bonds 15 times more efficiently than the best artificial catalyst produced by chemists.
The same method has been used to produce enzymes for detergents and other common products.
The team explains that the silicon enzyme could find a number of industrial applications and would avoid the use of precious metals and toxic solvents used in synthetic methods.
By introducing the DNA for the enzyme to E.coli, they could have biofactories knitting together silicon and carbon for industrial compounds.
Fans of the Marvel Iron Man comic from the 1980's may recall that the suit-tiles were created by a process of biological circuit fabrication:
Micro-Scale suit tiles fabricated by genetically engineered metal affinity bacteria which assemble themselves in specific orderly arrays, then expire, leaving behind various metallic deposits which form all the metal shapes and microscopic circuits.
Via Daily Mail.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/11/2016)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'- Arthur C. Clarke, 1956.
Razer Project Valerie Laptop Unfurls
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently...' - William Gibson, 1986.
Google Home Continues Implementation Of Pohl's Joymaker
'It is a transponder connecting you with the central computing facilities of the city in which you reside on a shared-time, self-programming basis.' - Frederik Pohl, 1966.
New Startup 'Improbable' To Model Our World
'A machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
'I cannot lie idle under attack.'
When Computers Develop Their Own Language, Will They Talk To Us?
'The curious absent look of a robot talking on the TBR circuits - the Talk Between Robots radio...'
LipNet Reads Lips - Until Disconnected, That Is
'We'd have to cut his higher brain functions... I'm not sure what [HAL} would think about that.'
Eterni.me - To Skype With The Dead
'Nothing... left of Jeserac but a galaxy of electrons frozen in the heart of a crystal.'
Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...'
Ford Stratasys Infinte Build 3D Printer
'He proudly indicated his Buick... Almost as good as the original it was printed from...'
The Space Suit As Personal Spaceship
'Darn clever, these suits...'
Dune Fans! Your God Emperor Is Ready
'If one held a sandtrout in the hand, smoothing it over your skin, it formed a living glove.'
Robot Strolls Field, Examines EVERY Plant
'The great machines that did the work ... required but a few dozen men to cultivate an entire county.'
Sweden Outlaws Drones
'An eye that could not only see, but fly, roam, travel at speeds and in directions to suit its operator...'
Wear Your Self-Powered Generator
'It's basically a micro-sandwich...'
TITAN-III Spider Robot Is WAY Too Quick (Video)
'My little friends can find you wherever you go!'
Bill Gates Suggests Tax On Robots
'A worker replaced by a nubot that 'appears or pretends to be human' had to be compensated...'
Handle, New Wheeled Hopping Robot
'the hopper sprang thirty feet into the air...'
Matrix Sentinel Ancestor, The Pipe Inspector Robot From Krakow
Watch out, Keanu!
Auto-Focus Smart Glasses Have Liquid Lenses
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension by an enclosing force field within a viewing tube...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories