Future optical computers that use light instead of electricity will need nano-scale pipes to transfer photons—analogues to the individual transistor's in a traditional circuit. And for that, scientists for the first time have used human DNA to build the smallest fibre optics cables yet created. And as is typical with organic computers, said cables are capable of assembling themselves.
The technique, spearheaded by Bo Albinsson at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, encodes DNA in a way that, when mixed with light-receptive molecules called chromophores, self-engineer themselves into a natural photo-sensitive wire that can accurately transmit light—similar to those found in some algaes. The technique may also someday be used for artificial photosynthesis systems that may power next-gen solar cells. [New Scientist, Image: DNA visualized in a cDNA microarray from Wiki Commons]