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Microscopic Light Pipes

 - Nov 19, 2008
References: newscientist
Researchers at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden have developed a way to make self-assembling fiber optic cables out of DNA, the very stuff all life is based upon. How did they do it?

According to Bo Albinsson, "(They) used a single type of chromophore called YO as their energy mediator. It has a strong affinity for DNA molecules and readily wedges itself between the ‘rungs’ of bases that make up a DNA strand. The result is strands of DNA with YO chromophores along their length, transforming the strands into photonic wires just a few nanometres in diameter and 20 nanometres long. That’s the right scale to function as interconnects in microchips."

Because they’re self-assembling, there’s variation in where the chromophores lie, and so the amount of light conducted by these strands isn’t consistent--yet.

Improving on this technology may very well impact solar cell efficiency. For that matter, this technology could conceivably be used anywhere you may need light to run a chemical, electrical or physical process.