Feeds

Logic-gate 'supermolecules' play noughts & crosses

Chemical nanobrains 'clever as kids'

Seven Steps to Software Security

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. ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
Vote now for LOHAN's stirring mission patch motto
Does the shed actually know no bounds, or what?
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.