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.
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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Yet another power source from humans.
Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?
Integrated Circuits Printed Right Onto Fabric!
'...a shirt that displayed email on its sleeve. - Margaret Atwood, 2003.
Drones Guided By The Mind Alone
'His treads left no tracks upon the floor...' - Clifford Simak, 1961.
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.
A 'Genuine Nanorobotic Production Factory'
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully - constructing something...'
Neuromorphic Computer Offers Non-von Neumann Architecture
Fires faster than brain at 1/10K energy.
Evorus Your Crowd-Powered Conversational Assistant
'...the DS [Daily Schedule] was suddenly transformed into a valued confidante.'
Mealworms Food Of The Future
Get your grubs on.
Alibaba's AI May Read Better Than You
'Mike ... could accept other languages and was doing technical translating - and reading endlessly.'
Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'
Humanity Star LEO Advertisement?
'Everyone has noticed those enormous advertisements...'
Nissan ProPILOT Slippers Are Self-Parking, Autonomous
Beyond science and fiction.
Atomristors - Atomic Memristors - Using Thin Nanomaterials
'I could almost feel those little tunnel junction neuristors working, forming their own interconnections as I operated it.'
Bigelow Prepares Inflatable Lunar Hotel
'Suddenly, hitherto unheard-of sums of money became available for investment in civilian orbital stations.'
Drunk Driver Of Tesla Claims Autopilot Was In Charge
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive.'
Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.
Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'
Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'
NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'
GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories