Ned Seeman and colleagues have put DNA robots to work by incorporating them into a self-assembling array. The composite device grabs various molecular chains, or “polymers,” from a solution and fuses them together. By controlling the position of the nano-bots, the researchers can specify the arrangement of the finished polymer.
Seeman hopes this tiny assembly line can be expanded into nano-factories that would synthesize whole suites of polymers in parallel. The major challenge now is going from 2D arrays to 3D structures. The extra dimension would allow the fabrication of more elaborate molecules, as well as denser electronic circuits.
We have the ability to attach particles to DNA. Scientists can hitch functional materials like metals, semiconductors and insulators to specific DNA molecules, which can then carry their cargo to pre-specified positions. Already this technique has been used to make a simple transistor, as well as metallic wires.
There is a problem, however, in making more complicated components. To keep negatively-charged DNA stable, researchers add positive ions to their solutions. But these ions can interfere with the functional materials needed to build electronics.
A solution might be to use a DNA-like molecule that is uncharged and yet has the same code as DNA. There are about 1000 “flavors” of DNA derivatives, Seeman says, so one of these might do the trick.
These alternatives can be 10 times more expensive to make than regular DNA.
Wang is a prolific business-oriented writer of emerging and disruptive technologies. He is known for insightful articles that combine business and technical analysis that catches the attention of the general public and is also useful for those in the industries. He is the sole author and writer of nextbigfuture.com
, the top online science blog. He is also involved in angel investing and raising funds for breakthrough technology startup companies.
He gave the recent keynote presentation at Monte Jade event with a talk entitled the Future for You. He gave an annual update on molecular nanotechnology at Singularity University on nanotechnology, gave a TEDX talk on energy, and advises USC ASTE 527 (advanced space projects program). He has been interviewed for radio, professional organizations. podcasts and corporate events. He was recently interviewed by the radio program Steel on Steel on satellites and high altitude balloons that will track all movement in many parts of the USA.
He fundraises for various high impact technology companies and has worked in computer technology, insurance, healthcare and with corporate finance.
He has substantial familiarity with a broad range of breakthrough technologies like age reversal and antiaging, quantum computers, artificial intelligence, ocean tech, agtech, nuclear fission, advanced nuclear fission, space propulsion, satellites, imaging, molecular nanotechnology, biotechnology, medicine, blockchain, crypto and many other areas.