November 26, 2004
Dr. Belcher has studied the biology of abalones and how the mollusks are able to assemble an extremely hard shell from calcium carbonate and other minerals in an ocean filled with various microbes and contaminants. The result: she and her colleagues have developed proteins that can bind to about 30 different electronic, magnetic, and optical materials, and then assemble the materials into protein structures.
In other words, a very real potential for computer chips and components assembled from materials other than silicon.
One of the most promising aspects of Dr. Belcher's discovery is that the process takes place in seawater - not the billion-dollar fabrication plants and hygienic rooms required for silicon manufacturing.
Every day we're a little bit closer to our giant fighting robot masters.
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