A chemical 'keypad lock' for biomolecular computers

March 24, 2008

Researchers in New York are reporting an advance toward a new generation of ultra-powerful computers built from DNA and enzymes, rather than transistors, silicon chips, and plastic. Their report on development of a key component for these “biomolecular computers” is scheduled for the March 26 issue of ACS’ Journal of the American Chemical Society.

In the new study, Evgeny Katz and colleagues describe development of a chemical “keypad lock,” one of the first chemical-based security systems of its kind. The researchers note that years of effort have gone into developing biomolecular computers, which rely on chemical reactions rather than silicon chips to perform logic functions.

Among their uses would be encryption of financial, military, and other confidential information. Only individuals with access to a secret “key” — a chemical key — could unlock the file and access the data.

The research by Katz and colleagues solved one part of this technological challenge: The security code. They identified a series of naturally occurring chemical reactions that act as a “keypad lock.” In laboratory studies, they demonstrated that by adding the correct series of chemicals, the lock could be opened to access the computer. On the other hand, adding the incorrect chemicals to the system acts as a wrong password and prevents access to the computer, they say.

“In addition to the biomolecular security applications, the enzyme-based implication logic networks will be extremely important for making autonomous decisions on the use of specific tools/drugs in various implantable medical systems.”

Source: ACS

Explore further: GM—'the most critical technology' for feeding the world, expert says

Related Stories

Single-cell technologies advance the value of genomics

June 24, 2015

Biologists are looking to extract as much information as possible from small amounts of valuable biological material, and to understand biological responses at higher levels of resolution. The Genome Analysis Centre has been ...

The trouble with fracking

June 15, 2015

The UK may be sitting on vast reserves of shale gas accessible with today's technology to the petrochemicals industry only through the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, better known as "fracking". Unfortunately ...

New potential for "homemade" opiates raises oversight issues

May 19, 2015

Writing in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have announced a new method that could make it easier to produce drugs such as morphine. The publication has focused ...

Recommended for you

Parasitized bees are self-medicating in the wild, study finds

September 1, 2015

Bumblebees infected with a common intestinal parasite are drawn to flowers whose nectar and pollen have a medicinal effect, a Dartmouth-led study shows. The findings suggest that plant chemistry could help combat the decline ...

How wind sculpted Earth's largest dust deposit

September 1, 2015

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from University of Arizona geoscientists.

ATLAS and CMS experiments shed light on Higgs properties

September 1, 2015

Three years after the announcement of the discovery of a new particle, the so-called Higgs boson, the ATLAS and CMS Collaborations present for the first time combined measurements of many of its properties, at the third annual ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.