Monday, August 17th 2009

IBM Scientists Use DNA Scaffolding To Build Tiny Circuit Board

Today, scientists at IBM Research and the California Institute of Technology announced a scientific advancement that could be a major breakthrough in enabling the semiconductor industry to pack more power and speed into tiny computer chips, while making them more energy efficient and less expensive to manufacture.

IBM researchers and collaborator Paul W.K. Rothemund, of the California Institute of Technology, have made an advancement in combining lithographic patterning with self assembly - a method to arrange DNA origami structures on surfaces compatible with today's semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

Today, the semiconductor industry is faced with the challenges of developing lithographic technology for feature sizes smaller than 22 nm and exploring new classes of transistors that employ carbon nanotubes or silicon nanowires. IBM's approach of using DNA molecules as scaffolding - where millions of carbon nanotubes could be deposited and self-assembled into precise patterns by sticking to the DNA molecules - may provide a way to reach sub-22 nm lithography.

The utility of this approach lies in the fact that the positioned DNA nanostructures can serve as scaffolds, or miniature circuit boards, for the precise assembly of components - such as carbon nanotubes, nanowires and nanoparticles - at dimensions significantly smaller than possible with conventional semiconductor fabrication techniques. This opens up the possibility of creating functional devices that can be integrated into larger structures, as well as enabling studies of arrays of nanostructures with known coordinates.

"The cost involved in shrinking features to improve performance is a limiting factor in keeping pace with Moore's Law and a concern across the semiconductor industry," said Spike Narayan, manager, Science & Technology, IBM Research - Almaden. "The combination of this directed self-assembly with today's fabrication technology eventually could lead to substantial savings in the most expensive and challenging part of the chip-making process."

The techniques for preparing DNA origami, developed at Caltech, cause single DNA molecules to self assemble in solution via a reaction between a long single strand of viral DNA and a mixture of different short synthetic oligonucleotide strands. These short segments act as staples - effectively folding the viral DNA into the desired 2D shape through complementary base pair binding. The short staples can be modified to provide attachment sites for nanoscale components at resolutions (separation between sites) as small as 6 nanometers (nm). In this way, DNA nanostructures such as squares, triangles and stars can be prepared with dimensions of 100 - 150 nm on an edge and a thickness of the width of the DNA double helix.

The lithographic templates were fabricated at IBM using traditional semiconductor techniques, the same used to make the chips found in today's computers, to etch out patterns. Either electron beam or optical lithography were used to create arrays of binding sites of the proper size and shape to match those of individual origami structures. Key to the process were the discovery of the template material and deposition conditions to afford high selectivity so that origami binds only to the patterns of "sticky patches" and nowhere else.

The paper on this work, "Placement and orientation of DNA nanostructures on lithographically patterned surfaces," by scientists at IBM Research and the California Institute of Technology, will be published in the September issue of Nature Nanotechnology and is currently available here.Source: IBM
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51 Comments on IBM Scientists Use DNA Scaffolding To Build Tiny Circuit Board

#1
TheMailMan78
Big Member
This is way beyond my understanding but anything to get away from the x86. Go IBM!
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#2
1Kurgan1
The Knife in your Back
Terminator is coming true!
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#4
El Fiendo
As long as its IBMs killing me in the future. Could you imagine if it was Dell or Acer that was Skynet? Could you ever live down being killed by one of them?
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#5
mrhuggles
by: TheMailMan78
This is way beyond my understanding but anything to get away from the x86. Go IBM!
i think you got the wrong idea, this is a desperate attempt to hold onto x86 [to make it smaller and faster]
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#6
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: El Fiendo
As long as its IBMs killing me in the future. Could you imagine if it was Dell or Acer that was Skynet? Could you ever live down being killed by one of them?
Meh. The Acer Terminator would never come back from his RMA and a Dell Terminator would never last due to his proprietary parts.

by: mrhuggles
i think you got the wrong idea, this is a desperate attempt to hold onto x86 [to make it smaller and faster]
I'm real sure thats what it is. :rolleyes: I mean by the time this comes out we will be walking on Mars.
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#7
El Fiendo
by: TheMailMan78
Meh. The Acer Terminator would never come back from his RMA and a Dell Terminator would never last due to his proprietary parts.

I'm real sure thats what it is. :rolleyes: I mean by the time this comes out we will be walking on Mars.
:laugh:

Too true, and I guess neither the Acer or Dell terminator would get very far with its cheap plastic outer shell / body armor.

Maybe having a budget oriented company manufacturing walking death machines wouldn't be so bad.
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#8
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: El Fiendo
:laugh:

Too true, and I guess neither the Acer or Dell terminator would get very far with its cheap plastic outer shell / body armor.

Maybe having a budget oriented company manufacturing walking death machines wouldn't be so bad.
An Apple Terminator would just look pretty, be overpriced and if you want him to shoot thats extra. But man EVERYBODY would want to be shot by one. You could call it "iDeath"
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#9
El Fiendo
If I had any skills in photoshop, I'd take this style of image

and apply it to a bunch of terminators.
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#12
hat
Maximum Overclocker
So they're using DNA in computers now... I see this becoming controversial
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#13
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: hat
So they're using DNA in computers now... I see this becoming controversial
From what I understood they are not using DNA but its architecture. I mean why not? The human brain is faster than any CPU on the planet. Wouldn't you want to utilize its structure if you could?
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#14
Nailezs
by: TheMailMan78
From what I understood they are not using DNA but its architecture. I mean why not? The human brain is faster than any CPU on the planet. Wouldn't you want to utilize its structure if you could?
i thought the human brain was only faster in the sense of how much data it can process at 1 time, ie multitasking, and not faster in as processing 1 thing at a time?

ie

a computer can chomp out a complex math equation in a matter of seconds, where a human brain would take minutes, hours, maybe even days

but

a computer cannot process the the shear amount of data that would come from all 5 of our senses, process it, and still have power to respond and make complex rational decisions, where as a human brain can
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#15
TheMailMan78
Big Member
by: Nailezs
i thought the human brain was only faster in the sense of how much data it can process at 1 time, ie multitasking, and not faster in as processing 1 thing at a time?

ie

a computer can chomp out a complex math equation in a matter of seconds, where a human brain would take minutes, hours, maybe even days

but

a computer cannot process the the shear amount of data that would come from all 5 of our senses, process it, and still have power to respond and make complex rational decisions, where as a human brain can
The human brain is far faster than anything made by man. You talk about complex complex math equation? What do you think typing is? How about when you were a kid and would try and balance yourself on a curb? Yeah we cant even build a computer that can handle local motion never the less one of the five senses.
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#16
Nailezs
by: TheMailMan78
The human brain is far faster than anything made by man. You talk about complex complex math equation? What do you think typing is? How about when you were a kid and would try and balance yourself on a curb? Yeah we cant even build a computer that can handle local motion never the less one of the five senses.
im not saying our brains arent fast, im just saying that in some things computers are faster
besides, arent computers lack of being able to process local motion, or one of the five senses, merely stemming from lack of attached hardware(as in the inner ear in the case of balance, or a nose in the case of one of the senses) and ai/software as efficient as our nervous system?

not trying to argue, now im just curious
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#17
El Fiendo
When they can follow pre determined laws, yes they are faster. However, good luck applying life as we know it into coding. We can't even do that with words let alone with operators and functions in coding. The only reason computers can crush us in math is that math follows concrete laws and terms that are 'easy' to code in. Thus its simply a series of steps and processes to analyze until an answer is put out. However if the coding is wrong, so is the answer and the computer wouldn't know the difference until we changed it. Humans generally can tell when they're wrong on the math, depending on their skill level at math. We might be able to cobble together some things to mimic a few senses. Sight and hearing would be easy enough, however they would lack the recognition side of it from the AI. Taste and smell and touch are all more longshot type items.
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#18
Nailezs
by: El Fiendo
When they can follow pre determined laws, yes they are faster. However, good luck applying life as we know it into coding. We can't even do that with words let alone with operators and functions in coding. The only reason computers can crush us in math is that math follows concrete laws and terms that are 'easy' to code in. We might be able to cobble together some things to mimic a few senses. Sight and hearing would be easy enough, however they would lack the recognition side of it from the AI. Taste and smell and touch are all more longshot type items.
so, like i said, in that aspect, computers are limited not in their speed, but in the programming

am i wrong?
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#19
hat
Maximum Overclocker
I think El Fiendo hit the nail on the head with a glorious impact hammer.
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#20
Velvet Wafer
lol WCG is Skynet:laugh: i know all of you are lying!:p
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#21
El Fiendo
You have to remember, the more programming, the more steps something takes to compute. Also, let's say there at least 5 threads running, 1 for each sense. If they're all running concurrently they're all dumping buttloads of information in. Ever have that time where you smell 2 or 3 odours at once? Each one would have to be processed in line to determine what it is on one thread (the smell thread). Then, to mimic my human brain, which is wonderfully awesome in this respect, its got to take a guess at what this smell 'smells' like. When I see a computer post up on the screen that I smell like old taco floating in burnt hair and feces, my life will be complete. Anyways, you can see where things would quickly get bogged down. If each sense is returning information but there are no threads left to compute what they mean and to process situational awareness, then we're at a standstill until something frees up.

I don't know how many odours a nose can smell at once however, but to process as fast as humans, a machine would probably need 1 thread for every 1 or 2 scents. This way it can process the scent, access a database on various scents, and then start matching up to that scent. Now apply that similar thinking to every sense. Touch depends on nerve placement. For example, a finger can differentiate between 2 contacts within millimeters of each other where as the side of your arm is maybe more like 2 contacts within an inch of each other. You'd need to apply the same sort of logic as we did for smell, because when you feel something, you immediately assess it. Sharp and ouchy? Pull away. Warm and burny? Pull away. Soft and harmless? ... Damnit. Its a trap! Pull away. Etc.

Anyways, coming down to it, I'd think a computer would have to be massively threaded to process all the info that humans can at once. Mind you, the key operator in my statement is 'can'. Most people can't seem to walk and talk at the same time, so maybe it'd be easier to build a computer to mimic them. :laugh:
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#22
Solaris17
Creator Solaris Utility DVD
I personally think the argument is null to begin with even though you both come up with amazing counter arguments we forgot to mention the biggest fact their is....computers as we know it are linear were as our brains are not...like El fiendo said computers need to do things in a step by step one thing at a time way were the human brain is always multitasking in essence and in fact it is a totally diffirent "architecture" as you will. And the argument ya but computers would be faster if we were sitting down and concentrating on the math problem....is absolutely in consiquential no matter what we are doing the mind is still processing vasts amount of data if their was a robot doing the same math problem as me in a room it wouldnt matter how hard i was concentrating all the robot is worrying about is the problem while my mind is picking up the smell of the carpet the emperature of the room the humidity judging the silence level. focusing on a sigle noise, trying to determine its location, judging the brightness level distence from the paper comfport level, energy level, alertness level, how tired am i? the list goes on and on. the Human mind can crunch data infinetely times better than any man made object. can a human beat a robot at math? absolutely. problems take time even for robots and if the mathmatician is really good he could absolutely take a machine on. not to mention were a robot would need to recalculate every time humans have the ability of memory we can take parts of an equation we have solved before remember the out come and move on to a diffirent part of the problem without doing any work. that or we could just remember the answer. I think were people are getting confused is not really at P4 vs human mind but rather how fast can you produce an answer well thats simple rebots dont need to write or form something into text or input it on paper or angle it so the text is straight we do so a robot would display the answer before we had it written but just because he displayed it first doesnt mean we didnt alrady have the answer it just wasnt written down see what i mean?
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#23
Steevo
We have savants (sp) who can outperform a computer by leaps and bounds while still enjoying a good fuschia garden.


Take a girl, add K&Y and you have fun.
Take a computer, add K&Y and I don't care what kind of CPU or DNA it has and you end up with problems.
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#24
El Fiendo
Not if computer comes installed with a fleshlight. In which case we can start making terminators with functional perforations.
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#25
WhiteLotus
by: hat
So they're using DNA in computers now... I see this becoming controversial
How? It's not little baby blood in it, it's Deoxyribonucleic acid.
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