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Logic elements of just a few atoms across promise exotic new concepts like quantum computing but how to integrate these tiny structures into devices in the first place is the key question. One answer is to harness biological molecules' innate ability to form into regular lattices. Semiconductor building blocks on the nanoscale could be chemically glued to specially engineered proteins or DNA strands, which would self-assemble into ordered arrays. This is the advantage of the biomolecule approach,it is a 'bottom up' process: all of the components are mixed together and then a certain trigger or cocktail of chemicals is added that causes them to spontaneously assemble.
Date of Publication: April 2003