New York, March 14: D, the genetic material of life, may help engineers build faster, cheaper computer chips by forming specific shapes through a process reminiscent of the ancient art of paper folding, researchers report.
“We would like to use D’s very small size, base-pairing capabilities and ability to self-assemble, and direct it to make noscale structures that could be used for electronics,” said Adam T Woolley, professor of chemistry at Brigham Young University (BYU).
The smallest features on chips currently produced by electronics manufacturers are 14 nometers wide.
That is more than 10 times larger than the diameter of single-stranded D, meaning that this genetic material could form the basis for smaller-scale chips.
“The problem, however, is that D does not conduct electricity very well. So we use the D as a scaffold and then assemble other materials on the D to form electronics,” Woolley explained.
To design computer chips similar in function to those that Silicon Valley churns out, Woolley, in collaboration with Robert C Davis and John N. Harb at Brigham Young University, is building on other groups’ prior work on D origami and D nofabrication. Kenneth Lee, an undergraduate who works with Woolley, has built a 3D, tube-shaped D origami structure that sticks up like a smokestack from substrates such as silicon that will form the bottom layer of their chip.
The researchers’ ultimate goal is to place such tubes, and other D origami structures, at particular sites on the substrate. In essence, the D structures serve as girders on which to build an integrated circuit.
“ture works on a large scale and it is really good at assembling things reliably and efficiently. If that could be applied in making circuits for computers, there’s potential for huge cost savings,” the authors noted. The researchers presented their work at the tiol meeting and exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in San Diego, California, on Sunday. (IANS)