Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) has been proposed as a scaffold to self-assemble nanoscale components like carbon nanotubes into circuits too small to create with traditional lithography. The technique holds the promise of extending chip fabrication methods beyond the end of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS). Look for DNA to become intergrated with chip fabrication equipment in about 10 years. R.C.J.
IBM Corp. researchers say they have harnessed DNA to position nanoscale components like carbon nanotubes and silicon nanowires into circuits 10 times smaller than can be achieved with current lithographic techniques. The new technique was invented at CalTech and perfected by a team of 10 IBM scientists who used e-beam lithography to create triangular-shaped patches on a substrate that match the shape and size of its DNA circuits--about 130 nanometers on an edge. The patches electrically attracted and oriented the DNA structures, each of which incorporated a pattern of hooks that could be customized to hold future nanoscale components of the circuit.