Transistor Genetics


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Take a few tiny spoonfuls of phosphates, sugars and nucleotides to create several types of DNA, add a pinch of carbon nanotubes, sprinkle in a few grains of gold, mix well on a clean silicon surface -and what do you have? A transistor, according to research conducted by Prof. Ron Naaman of the Weizmann Institute's Chemical Physics Department.

Several unique strands of DNA were created and programmed to form different types of attachments. One tiny set of DNA strands was designed to connect to minuscule electrical contacts made of gold that were anchored to the silicon surface, while a second type of DNA strand was designed to fasten to the carbon nanotubes – extra-strong hollow tubes a mere 10 hydrogen atoms in diameter. The end result was a sort of carbon nanotube “bridge” spanning the silicon surface between two gold contacts.
Similar nanobridges may one day form the basis of tiny nanotransistors that will be used to build fast, efficient, miniaturized electronic circuits. This “recipe for success” appeared in Applied Physics Letters.  

Prof. Ron Naaman’s research is supported by the Fritz Haber Center for Physical Chemistry; the Ilse Katz Institute for Material Sciences and Magnetic Resonance Research; the Wolfson Advanced Research Center; the Philip M. Klutznick Fund for Research; and Dr. Pamela Scholl, Northbrook, IL. Prof. Naaman is the incumbent of the Aryeh and Mintze Katzman Professorial Chair.

DNA/nanotube bridge