Duke University professor Chris Dwyer has demonstrated that by mixing customized parts of DNA and other molecules, billions of identical, tiny, waffle-like structures can be developed and used as the building blocks for a variety of biomedical and computational applications. Dwyer says that DNA-based switches use light to stimulate the rapid processing of ones and zeroes. "This is the first demonstration of such an active and rapid processing and sensing capacity at the molecular level," he says.
Dwyer's experiments took advantage of DNA's natural ability to latch onto corresponding and specific areas of other DNA snippets. "It's like taking pieces of a puzzle, throwing them in a box, and as you shake the box, the pieces gradually find their neighbors to form the puzzle," he says.
In addition to their use in computing, the nanostructures also function as sensors, which makes many biomedical applications possible, Dwyer says.
From Duke University News
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