Future bio-nanotechnology will use computer chips inside living cells

(Nanowerk Spotlight) Continuing miniaturization has moved the semiconductor industry well into the nano realm with leading chip manufacturers on their way to CMOS using 22nm process technology. With transistors the size of tens of nanometers, researchers have begun to explore the interface of biology and electronics by integrating nanoelectronic components and living cells. While researchers have already experimented with integrating living cells into semiconductor materials (see “Scientists integrate living brain cells into organic semiconductors”) other research is exploring the opposite way, i.e. integrating nanoelectronics into living cells.

The study of individual cells is of great importance in biomedicine. Many biological processes incur inside cells and these processes can differ from cell to cell. The development of micro- and nanoscale tools smaller than cells will help in understanding the cellular machinery at the single cell level. All kinds of mechanical, biochemical, electrochemical and thermal processes could be studied using these devices.

A typical human cell is the size of about 10 square micrometers which means that hundreds of today’s smallest transistors could fit inside a single cell. If the current rate of miniaturization continues, by 2020 approximately 2.500 transistors – equivalent to microprocessors of the first generation of personal computers – could fit into the area of a typical living cell.

via Future bio-nanotechnology will use computer chips inside living cells.

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