Feeds

Logic-gate 'supermolecules' play noughts & crosses

Chemical nanobrains 'clever as kids'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
prev story

Whitepapers

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 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.