updated 12:15 pm EDT, Mon August 17, 2009
DNA-based circuit boards
IBM and the California Institute of Technology say they have devised a new means of assembling circuit boards, based on the use of DNA molecules. The DNA acts as a form "scaffolding," according to IBM, automatically sorting carbon nanotubes into desired patterns through adhesion. In theory, the technology could be scaled up to be used in traditional semiconductor manufacturing, using nanotubes, nanoparticles and/or silicon nanowires.
The concept is described as one means of shrinking circuity beyond the 22nm barrier, beyond which it can be extremely difficult or costly to manufacture hardware. In using a DNA process, IBM suggests, companies should be able to increase the speed of future chips, while also boosting power efficiency and reducing production costs. Resolutions as small as 6nm may be possible.