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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Computer ")

Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
Well, just speaking brain-to-computer...

IBM's Grain Of Sand Computer
'Our ancestors... thought to make the very sand beneath their feet intelligent...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.

Can An Entire Brain Be Simulated In A Computer?
'The miles of relays and photocells had given way to the spongy globe of platinum iridium about the size of the human brain.' - Isaac Asimov, 1941.

Illustris: The Next Generation Of Universe Simulation
'This digital device was ... A machine able literally to contain the Universe Itself...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Swarm Of Mindless Robots Works Together
'Very tiny pseudo insects that... can unite to form a superordinate system.'

SpotMini Robot Dog, Autonomous And On Sale In 2019
Great, an autonomous slamhound. It is cute, though.

RoboFly Is Laser-Powered, Adorable
Don't swat this fly!

MSG Sphere Las Vegas, ala Star Wars
'The smoky globe, hung in the vault, was shot with colored light...'

Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
Well, just speaking brain-to-computer...

MIT Ampli Blocks Build Biomedical Devices
Damn it Spock, I'm a doctor not an engineer!

UberAIR Asks For Skytaxi Landing Prototypes
You know you want to ride in one.

Boring Tunnel Almost Ready
Your underground future is calling!

Handheld Human Skin Printer
It outputs a thin wad of uniflesh.

Healthy Fast Food Courtesy Of Robot Chefs
'The electric cook was stirring empty nothing in a pan, with a zeal worthy a dozen eggs.'

Mass Production Of In Vitro Meat From One Sample
They're Assimilating Our Culture, That's What They're Doing

Amazing 'Hybrid' Solar-Powered Sea Slug Does Photosynthesis
Thank goodness for Star Trek.

Retinal Prosthesis Uses Organic Printing Inks
We can rebuild you - well, your eyes, maybe.

Should You Submit Your DNA To A Database?
Consumer DNA services are often inaccurate.

Squid-Like Robots Soon To Be 3D Printable
'It was a chemotactic artificial jellyfish designed to slither...'

Humans Evolve Deep Diving Abilities
Sounds like '60s sci-fi to me.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.