| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO Aug 16 International Business
Machines Corp (IBM.N) is looking to the building blocks of our
bodies -- DNA -- to be the structure of next-generation
As chipmakers compete to develop ever-smaller chips at
cheaper prices, designers are struggling to cut costs.
Artificial DNA nanostructures, or "DNA origami" may provide
a cheap framework on which to build tiny microchips, according
to a paper published on Sunday in the journal Nature
Microchips are used in computers, cell phones and other
"This is the first demonstration of using biological
molecules to help with processing in the semiconductor
industry," IBM research manager Spike Narayan said in an
interview with Reuters.
"Basically, this is telling us that biological structures
like DNA actually offer some very reproducible, repetitive
kinds of patterns that we can actually leverage in
semiconductor processes," he said.
The research was a joint undertaking by scientists at IBM's
Almaden Research Center and the California Institute of
Right now, the tinier the chip, the more expensive the
equipment. Narayan said that if the DNA origami process scales
to production-level, manufacturers could trade hundreds of
millions of dollars in complex tools for less than a million
dollars of polymers, DNA solutions, and heating implements.
"The savings across many fronts could add up
significantly," he said.
But the new processes are at least 10 years out. Narayan
said that while the DNA origami could allow chipmakers to build
frameworks that are far smaller than possible with conventional
tools, the technique still needs years of experimentation and