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Biotech Science

3D Crystal Grown On a DNA Lattice 61

An anonymous reader suggests an article over at ScienceDaily about the achievement of the holy grail of nanoscience: "[R]esearchers at the US Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have for the first time used DNA to guide the creation of three-dimensional, ordered, crystalline structures of nanoparticles. The ability to engineer such 3-D structures is essential to producing functional materials that take advantage of the unique properties that may exist at the nanoscale — for example, enhanced magnetism, improved catalytic activity, or new optical properties."
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3D Crystal Grown On a DNA Lattice

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  • by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionary&yahoo,com> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @07:01PM (#22399990) Journal
    Did you light the grail science-beacon on top of the castle? You must be punished!
  • wow! (Score:2, Funny)

    by rilister ( 316428 )
    ...so many cool words in one story... wow ...
  • Why not? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PaK_Phoenix ( 445224 )
    We're built from information contained in DNA, is it so far a stretch to think that one day we will grow the items we need on a day to day basis? Perhaps this is the basis for replicator technology.

    Synthehol anyone?
    • So you want (say) a laptop that dies if you don't feed it, and instead of the blue screen of death, the damn thing barfs all over you when it crashes?
      • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Funny)

        by Quadraginta ( 902985 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @08:16PM (#22400768)
        Not to mention that if it dies from your neglect, you can be charged with murder, or at least animal abuse, and your neighbors start leaving dogshit on your doorstep after your face is on the evening news...next to the sad, shriveled corpse of the laptop...a bright promising life, cut cruelly short by a cranky abusive bastard...
      • Or maybe we could grow interfaces so that electrical energy can be converted directly into mechanical energy. We'd wear a belt that goes around our waists from which we plug a cord into the wall, electricity would flow in, we'd never need to move a muscle or eat again and we'd be super fit!

        Never mind, I doubt the patent office would approve... [enutramart.com]
        • Or maybe we could grow interfaces so that electrical energy can be converted directly into mechanical energy
          You mean, like.. muscles? No growing gonna happen there buddy - unless you mean finger muscles (and perhaps wrist muscles)
  • a brief explanation of what this is all about:
    Intel and AMD spends billions of dollars to print 'tiny' lines. It's actually the *most* expensive and difficult part of the manufacturing process. Scientists now are trying to exploit the tiniest, most precise printing process that nature does routinely. By 'piggy backing' on DNA molecules, scientists/engineers can put materials where they want. Gold is not too interesting since it's just a conductor. But it's a start.

    Moreover, with the advances in organic
  • by LuNa7ic ( 991615 )
    That would make for one hell of a Caesar Salad! Wait, what?
  • by Corpuscavernosa ( 996139 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @08:26PM (#22400854)
    DNA structure deduced from crystallography, now crystals formed in DNA lattice. Kind of fun how that worked out.
  • "The ability to engineer such 3-D structures is essential to producing functional materials that take advantage of the unique properties that may exist at the nanoscale -- for example, enhanced magnetism, improved catalytic activity, or new optical properties."

    it sounds cool, but it doesn't sound like they know what to expect. they are guessing
    • This is how cutting edge science usually works. The researchers don't know, and sometimes don't even care, what the eventual applications of their discoveries might be. However, proposals for pure research don't stand a good chance of being funded. Therefore, to get money you have to wax poetic about all the good your work will eventually do for mankind, while all you want is to get on with your research.

      So yes, they are guessing. Wildly.
    • They claim to have invented a 21st century hammer, they are guessing what it might be used for.
  • Holy grail? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by H3g3m0n ( 642800 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @09:25PM (#22401304) Homepage Journal
    I though the holy grail was self replicating fabricators effectively killing the economy when people can print diamonds, gold, oil, electric cars, monster trucks, food, medical supplies, platinum, titanium, nanotubes, cake, solar panels, computers (to the point that it becomes a computing power vs mass and probably quantum), mp3 players, replacement organs, replacement people, guns, nukes, space elevator materials, self sustaining spaceships/stations, replacement cells to reverse the aging process, green eggs and ham, money, billions of tiny wireless internet routers, man machine interfaces, an actual holy grail (probably many verities, including those from the Indiana Jones movies), mind uploading systems.

    A 3D crystal might be cool and could help lead to that but I wouldn't describing it as the 'holy grail' is a bit much
    • Printing gold wouldn't be that much cheaper; it's simply not generally available, and until we start mining asteroids it will remain "unobtanium". Nukes should also be difficult, and even with asteroid mining fissionables will be difficult to obtain. Titanium may not be that bad, and Platinum is actually (relatively) plentiful in some areas, though currently difficult to extract.

      As for printing an actual holy grail, we still lack a proper physics for miraculous objects, so that will still require work.
      • by Magada ( 741361 )
        Err... hate to nitpick, but uranium is plentiful.
      • by yooy ( 1146753 )
        " Printing gold wouldn't be that much cheaper; it's simply not generally available, and until we start mining asteroids it will remain "unobtanium". " Why would you want to mine asteroids? There is enough Gold on the earth you just can't mine the trace amounts. But I am aware of people who do "nanomining". While I have not seen their results they claim have made successes.
      • by Fizzl ( 209397 )
        I think you missed the point of that lengthy list.
        If you can fabricate stuff on subatomic levels, there are no barriers to what you can manufacture. Need some atoms of certain element? Just construct it from the subatomic particles which are all the same and abundantly available.
        • If you can fabricate stuff on subatomic levels, there are no barriers to what you can manufacture. Need some atoms of certain element? Just construct it from the subatomic particles which are all the same and abundantly available.

          That's... not even remotely realistic. The whole Engines of Creation dream was to manufacture things at the molecular level, atom by atom. But you'd still need the right atoms. Carbon is abundant and cheap, for instance, so a lot of stuff would get made out of diamond. What you p

    • So, the singularity is or isn't near? Did anyone ever read about how DARPA is supposedly using Nano-technology to manufacture invisible military armor? Or what is perceived as inivisble armor - how much will this nano-technology really help us transcend our biology - I mean, Jake 2.0 was cool but hard to see how that could stop being fiction? What would the applications fo the magnetic properties be?
      • There are different ways to do this. One would be with a suite like a computer screen that just shows what the observer would expect to see. Problems: Tremendous real time number crunching needed, problems that the object will still have a shadow etc. The elegant solution would be to use a body armor covered with a photonic crystal (Google). This would be one application of the 3D DNA nano crystal. Light would go in the amour, be guided around the body and exit the body, giving the impression that is was n
    • And girls...can they make girls?
    • by yooy ( 1146753 )
      "A 3D crystal might be cool" Yes. Cool like the only way to fabricate any designed, defined and predicted 3D nanostructures on the molecular scale. Cool like to capture proteins and hence be able to crystallize ANY given protein (what is quite difficult). Cool like to produce phonic crystals and cool like to be able to assemble 3D chips with Carbon nanotubes, guided by DNA self assembly. This kind of cool. " and could help lead to that but I wouldn't describing it as the 'holy grail' is a bit much" Sure.
  • My PHD (Score:5, Funny)

    by EEPROMS ( 889169 ) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @09:43PM (#22401430)
    Dude just look at my thesis, it has magnetism, DNA and nanoparticles and to show off I threw in 3D-particles, Im definitely going to pass this year.
  • I've been missing this meme:

    1. Cover nanoparticles in DNA.
    2. Generate DNA so nanoparticles know how to assemble.
    3. Mix and heat.
    4. ?????????
    5. Profit!!
  • The real holy grail of nanotech is the molecular assembler. But this is damned cool, and yet another step in that direction. Wake me up when my computer can print me an apple out the carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen it pulls out of the air, and a few other trace elements it already has on hand.
    • Hey, after you wake up, could you wake me up when my computer can print me a Natalie Portman? Thanks.
    • There are more "holy grails" in nanoscience than you can shake a stick at. Carbon nanotubes that you can build a space elevator out of, making crystals on DNA, molecular assembler, caged medicines deliverable right to the needed site, nanobots that can do anything, self replicating nanostructures....

      PICK ONE DAMN "HOLY GRAIL" AND STICK WITH IT. -- Note to all nanoscientists

      It reminds me of that scene from last crusade.

      I guess it might not be researcher's fault. Lord knows there's plenty of "holy grails"
    • Bah. Wake me when it can transmute the carbon/oxygen/hydrogen/nitrogen into whatever trace minerals it needs.

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