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 -
Kelly Clarkson Show Like Black Mirror '15 Million Merits'
'These people are pieces of software called avatars.' Neal Stephenson, 1992.
Neuralink Will Land A Chip In Your Brain
'What are you talking about? Do you mean a neural lace?' - Iain M. Banks, 2010.
100 Terabyte Exadrive SSD Also Has Biggest Price
'A man could carry AIs or complete planetary dataspheres in a Schrön loop.' - Dan Simmons, 1989.
Google Now Expects Chips To Design Themselves
'What lay down there? Energy, tubes and pipes, wiring, transformers, self-contained machinery...' - Philip K. Dick, 1960.
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.
Implantable Covid-Detecting Microchip Developed By DARPA
'Employees... were implanted with advanced microprocessors...'
SpaceX Requests Starlink For Starship
'... sweating, heat-blistered engineers at every interplanetary radiograph station on three planets.'
SF Writers Predicted John Deere Autonomous Tractors
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'
DARPA Funding AI Fighter Pilots
'Cultured brains on a slab.'
StoryFile To Help William Shatner Become Landru
"I am Landru. I am he! All that he was, I am."
Telehealth Drones To The Rescue
'A shadow passed over him, and he looked up.'
Capture Asteroids In A Bag
'... just as a small boy catches a swift ball in his cap.'
Sony Pocket Air Conditioner Is Phil Dick's Idea!
'... he went to the hall closet to get his pith helmet and his mandatory cooling-unit.'
Is It Possible To GROW Planes And Vehicles?
'These are your rudimentary seed packages...'
Guard Dog Robot Security Check
'We still use people at the main gates, but here it's an automated sentry.'
Sheepskin Parchment Helped Medieval Lawyers Prevent Fraud
'The single sheet he held, and even the words and signatures upon it, were all integral parts of a single giant molecule...'
Space 'Hurricane' Has Been Seen
'... it was the biggest of the four hundred odd storms raging in the Fifty Suns region.'
PR2 Fencing Robot Perfect For Kwisatz Haderach-in-training
'Now, we'll work on your timing. Let me see you catch that thing sinister.'
Sole Morphing Astronaut Boots - A New Pair Of Moon Boots?
'It’s an ideal device for kangarooing along in lunar gravity.'
Mice Gestate In Mechanical Womb
'... in the Decanting Room, the newly-unbottled babes uttered their first yell of horror and amazement.'
3rd Century BC Gold Bee Is Just The Start
Bees knees, I order you to freeze!
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories