Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Mol Switch Project Nanoactuator Opens New Vistas

The Mol Switch molecular magnetic switch Project has succeeded in creating a biological molecular motor - a nanoactuator - which "pulls" DNA to move a magnetic particle past a silicon-based detector. The Mol Switch nanoactuator is a molecular switch that links the biological and silicon worlds.


(Mol-Switch animation
The motors bind to DNA at a specific site and then
translocate the rest of the DNA through the bound motor
following the helical thread of DNA.)

The key to the Mol Switch device is that researchers have attached a paramagnetic bead to the end of the DNA strand, which can be used to stretch the DNA. Perhaps more remarkably, it produces a molecular dynamo effect allowing electronic output from the moving magnet. Here's how it works:

The team uses a microfluidics chip that includes a number of channels measured in nano-metres. The novelty of microfluidics is that it can channel liquids in laminar, or predictable, flow.

The floor of this channel is peppered with Hall-Effect sensors. The Hall Effect describes how a magnetic field influences an electric current. That influence can be measured to a high degree of accuracy. These measurements link the biological motor with the electronic signals of the silicon world.

The biological element of the device starts with a DNA molecule that's fixed to the floor of the microfluidic channel. This strand is held upright, like a string held up by a weather balloon, by anchoring the floating end of the DNA strand to a magnetic bead, itself held up under the influence of magnetism...

The motor is attached to the strand at the specific sequence of bases. Then the team introduces ATP, the phosphate molecule that provides energy within living cells, into the microfluidics channel. This is the fuel for the motor. The motor then pulls the upright DNA strand through it until it reaches the magnetic bead, like a winch lowering a weather balloon.

A Hall-Effect sensor can measure the vertical movement of the magnetic bead which indicates whether the switch is on or off.
(From Nano machine switches between biological and silicon worlds pdf)


(Molecular magnetic switch in action)

A nano-scale actuator should be a very useful device. Actuators supply and transmit a measured amount of energy for the operation of another mechanism or system. It can be a simple mechanical device, converting between different forms of mechanical energy. Or, it can convert mechanical movement into an electrical signal. Mol Switch nanoactuators could be used for flow-control valves, pumps, positioning drives, motors, switches, relays and biosensors.

The Mol Switch effort is an European Union-funded research project started in January of 2003; scientific teams in the U.K, France, Netherlands, Italy and the Czech Republic participated in bringing the project to a successful conclusion.

Read more about this amazing development in the Mol Switch press release and the Mol Switch project website; found this one at Physorg.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 4/25/2006)

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 ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

Envisioning Starship Earth Travel - In 1930 By Max Valier
'Why must we travel ever faster in a seemingly insatiable desire to conquer space and time?' - Max Valier, 1930.

Liquid Lenses Adjust Automatically, Not Quite Dune Binoculars
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension... within a viewing tube...' - Frank Herbert, 1965.

The Dune Ornithopter, Movie And Book
'The wings were at full spread-rest, their delicate metal interleavings extended.' Frank Herbert, 1965.

Two Towns Linked By Sculpture Portal In Real Time
'I am the Guardian of Forever.' - Gene Roddenberry, 1967.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Envisioning Starship Earth Travel - In 1930 By Max Valier
'Why must we travel ever faster in a seemingly insatiable desire to conquer space and time?'

Man's Marriage To Hologram Ruined By Software Glitch
Till 'NETWORK ERROR' do us part.

Carbon Robotics: War Of The Worlds As A Metaphor For Weed Control
'It was as if some invisible jet impinged upon them and flashed into white flame.'

Pathways Language Model (PaLM) Is No Joke
'Electronic differentiation of the grotesque, as it says in the specifications - in man, a sense of humor.'

MOOSE: Man Out Of Space Easiest or Manned Orbital Operations Safety Equipment
'And as the ball bulleted downward on a screaming slant, it shrank!'

Liquid Lenses Adjust Automatically, Not Quite Dune Binoculars
'Hufhuf oil held in static tension... within a viewing tube...'

Your Martian Dream Home, Made By Fungi
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'

The Dune Ornithopter, Movie And Book
'The wings were at full spread-rest, their delicate metal interleavings extended.'

100X Improvement In DNA Information Storage
'A record that wouldn't get lost and couldn't be destroyed.'

NASA 'Holoports' Doctor Onto Space Station
Star Trek Voyager Emergency Medical Hologram

Should We Train AIs To Imagine A Future Of Horrific Disasters
'LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE.'

Mouth Haptics Invented By Frederik Pohl In 1965, CMU Now Has Prototype
'What he got was indeed a kiss. It was disconcerting. No kissing lips were visible.'

Two Towns Linked By Sculpture Portal In Real Time
'I am the Guardian of Forever.'

3D Printed Robotic Tentacles
'... articulate ropes of steel dangling'

Update: Musk Doubles Down On Optimus Prime Humanoid Robot
'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'

Elon Musk: Production Of Robotaxis In 2024
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'

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.