I missed this last week in the rush to get FastForward out.
A functional electronic nano-device has been manufactured using biological self-assembly for the first time.
Israeli scientists harnessed the construction capabilities of DNA and the electronic properties of carbon nanotubes to create the self-assembling nano-transistor. The work has been greeted as "outstanding" and "spectacular" by nanotechnology experts.
I've spent some time pondering whether our progress in nanotechnology should focus on big steps or small steps (this one seems like a fairly big one to me.) Maybe the question isn't really the size of the steps; it's the speed at which they're taking place.
For example: last week I was pretty excited when the Senate (and then the House) voted in the new nanotech bill, with its provision that the National Research Council do a one-time investigation into the feasibility of molecular self-assembly. All we have to do now is get the President to sign the thing, wait a few months/years for the program to be put in place, wait a few months/years for the work to be farmed out, and wait a few months/years for the results to come in and then we'll have an assessment of the feasibility of a future development which, by the way, was accomplished last week in Israel..
Now that's progress.
Posted by Phil at November 24, 2003 06:22 AM