Small circuit boards hang on DNA scaffolds

Scientists at IBM are experimenting with using DNA molecules as scaffolding for millions of carbon nanotubes in an attempt to push Moore’s Law below the 22 nanometer level.

IBM is collaborating with Paul W.K. Rothemund of the California Institute of Technology to combine lithographic patterns with self assembly compatible with current semiconductor manufacturing technology.

The DNA nanostructures can be used as scaffolds to precisely assemble components including carbon nanotubes, nanowires and nanoparticles which circumvent the physical limits of current semi process technology. The researchers believe that they can create devices that will become part of  larger structures and to create arrays of nanostructures with known coordinates.

Caltech describes the scaffolding as DNA origami. Single DNA molecules self assemble in solution using a reaction between a long single strand of viral DNA and a mixture of different short synthetic oligonucleotide strands. The short segments fold the viral DNA into a 2D shape and act as staples. In turn these staples will provide attachment sites for nanoscale components at resolutions as tiny as six nanometers.

The full details are available at Nature Nanotechnology, here .