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IBM Could Use DNA to Make Next-Gen Chips

Chip makers are always looking for the next big breakthrough in making smaller, faster, more energy efficient computer chips. IBM, always pushing its research and development teams, claims to have found a potential new chip making method using nanotechnology.

In conjunction with the California Institute of Technology collaborator Paul W.K. Rothemund, IBM Research has published its findings on 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.

Current manufacturing techniques focus on making feature sizes smaller than 22-nm, and IBM's approach of using DNA molecules as scaffolding could be the way there. IBM explained that millions of carbon nanotubes could be deposited and self-assembled into precise patterns by sticking to the DNA molecules. Specially 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.   

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. Those with an online account may access it now here.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Burodsx
    I've read about this a few months ago. The idea is to make DNA attach to the material, then remove the DNA once it is formed. The process is supposed to be cost effective and better all-around. The article mentioned manufacturing to approximately the 7-9nm level. Hopefully they can make this work sooner rather than later.*crosses fingers*
    Reply
  • paranoidmage
    The hydrogen bonds holding two strands of DNA together break at low temperatures, around 55 degrees Celsius. I don't know how strong the individual strands are, but I wouldn't want my CPU to denature when I run Prime95.
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  • megabuster
    paranoidmageThe hydrogen bonds holding two strands of DNA together break at low temperatures, around 55 degrees Celsius. I don't know how strong the individual strands are, but I wouldn't want my CPU to denature when I run Prime95.DNA is only used to build the processor; they are not building an organic CPU.
    Reply
  • Burodsx
    The DNA is removed after forming the desired product. Hence think of the DNA as a mold.
    Reply
  • mlopinto2k1
    If they used Chuck Norris' DNA the chip would remove the nanotubes and just use the DNA.
    Reply
  • teeth_03
    mlopinto2k1If they used Chuck Norris' DNA the chip would remove the nanotubes and just use the DNA.
    Chuck Norris's DNA could max out Crysis...Twice...
    Reply
  • gekko668
    That's interesting. I wonder that is the TDP going to be.
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  • Will it cause your CPU to have cancer after extensive usage?
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  • rambo117
    megabusterDNA is only used to build the processor; they are not building an organic CPU.that would be nasty lol.
    Reply
  • tidoubleger
    Skynet?
    Reply