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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
NASA eyeballs SOLAR HEAT BOMBS, MINI-TORNADOES and NANOFLARES on Sun
Astro boffins probe fiery star's hidden depths
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.