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IBM Using DNA in New Chips

Aug 23, 20091 min
Computers and PeripheralsCPUs and ProcessorsData and Information Security

IBM Research said its scientists are using DNA molecules and nanotechnology to build more powerful computer chips that are easier and cheaper to manufacture than today's processors.

Researchers at IBM are experimenting with a combination of DNA molecules and nanotechnology to create tiny circuits that could form the basis of smaller, more powerful and energy-efficient computer chips that also are easier and cheaper to manufacture.

IBM said last week that it’s looking to use the DNA molecules as scaffolding so carbon nanotubes can assemble themselves into precise patterns.

The ability for the DNA structures to self-assemble would lead to greater precision in the design and manufacture of chips, said Greg Wallraff, an IBM Research scientist working on the project. He noted that implementation is still years away.

Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group Inc., said that “harnessing biological processes and building blocks” could significantly cut chip-building costs.

This version of this story originally appeared in Computerworld ‘s print edition.