Feeds

Logic-gate 'supermolecules' play noughts & crosses

Chemical nanobrains 'clever as kids'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Royal Society of Chemistry has awarded a Belfast-based boffin a prize for developing "intelligent supermolecules" which are on an intellectual level with (some) human children - able to win games of noughts and crosses.

The unfeasibly tiny nanobrain developments sprang from the normal-sized brain of Professor A Prasanna de Silva of Queen's Uni, recipient of the 2008 RSC Sensors Award, and those of his collaborators.

The latest developments build on fluorescent sensor molecules previously developed by de Silva's team, which have already seen widespread use in medical diagnostic equipment. These "catch and tell" molecules emit light when they encounter specific chemicals in a blood sample. Now, Prof de Silva and his fellow boffins have apparently devised even niftier glow-molecules which can act as logic gates.

"Logic gates are what drive current computers," says the prof. "The first molecular logic gates were built in Belfast a few years back and a range of gates such as YES, NOT, AND, OR, NOR and INHIBIT are now available ... These artificial systems use chemical inputs and light output, reversing the natural roles existing within the eye.

"One of our own contributions has been to persuade molecules to perform arithmetic operations. Small molecules can now add one and one to get two, just like children. It is clear that small molecules can perform small-scale computational operations in small spaces where semiconductors cannot go in spite of all their power."

According to the Queen's Uni release, other smarty-cules developed in the States from Belfast research can "play games like tic-tac-toe and win against human opponents".

It seems that the RSC prize brings Professor de Silva £500 and "a silver medal", which is nice. Also, the existing blood-chemistry cassette tech has apparently done $40m of sales since 1997. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
What's that PONG? Rosetta probe shoves nose under comet's tail
Rotten eggs, horse dung and almonds – yuck
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.