Vibrant semiconductor

By accident, bacteria detected on chips that produce silicon or germanium crystals for their protection could also be used as a biochip

Rallously, American and Irish scientists have stumbled over an interesting phanomena, from which maybe once new biochips could be developed. With all possible means, the scientists had tried to remove certain brazil bacteria from a chip paving plant. But that turned out to be impossible, because the bacteria had laid out with a crystal armor. But that’s how they were at the same time to live semiconductors.

Organisms living up and in germanium crystals, photo: Center for biosurfaces

Just stop Michael Larkin, a microbiologist from the Queen’s University of Belfast, which deals with the development and use of microorganisms, for example, to clean up poisons, to access what bacteria it is, as a publication of the research results is still still pending. He just said against New Scientist that it was an extremophilic bacterial type, "which grow in places with very few nutrients, bind nitrogen and can survive in pure water."

They also had to do that, because the microchips in the factory were enchanted with ultra-a water. This also seems to be the reason why the bacteria at the same time has grown the protective tank. Ultrane of water Lost from the surface of semiconductors made of silicon or germanium individual silicon or germanium oxide molecules, which can then grow as crystals around the bacteria. In this Hulle, they could then resist all attacks, but they had made a novel lively cell from the semiconductor material himself. This semiconductor cell, in turn, can be used as a biotransistor in which the gate which controls the current flow in more transistors is replaced by the bacterial semiconductor crystal.

Robert Baier, director of the Center for BioSurfaces at the State University of New York in Buffalo, already produces such living semiconductors by dripping on semiconductor slices with bacteria, on which the biocristals are formed, which are formed permit: "That looks like diamond dust", says Baier, who hopes, first can develop the crystals so that they are stable and behave like a transistor. Overall, the previous research could be reversed: "Instead of putting a chip, this research result indicates that they can be introduced ‘in’ a chip, which may be necessary to reduce the necessary steps for the production and operation of biologically sound electronic components."

Semiconductor materials such as silicon or germanium have four electrons in their external shell, which tie together the atoms. Pro a thousand atoms, so Baier explains, there is only a free electron that can ask electricity. Therefore, the uniform structures of pure silicon atoms are targeted with a few atoms of another element such as phosphorus, which has an electron more, or as boron, which has only three electrons, are contaminated. Misders of excess phosphorus electrons continue to hike or spend electrons at the vacancy of the boratoma, whereby electricity. At the surface oxidize the silicon disks and form silicon dioxide, which is not conductive, so that thereby allow the circuits to build up.

Biological semiconductors are because of the number of their current-transporting electrons and the "Perforator" (the absence of electrons) between them interesting, since they can be controlled by transmissions of a single electron, such as the case in biological advances such as breathing or photosynthesis,. The punches become in the case of "Biochips" generated by biologically caused impurities. Semiconductor can be so sensitive, explaining Baier, "that the current capable by a small germanium or silicon crystal can be controlled by the chlorophyll of a single cell when light on it falls in a region where a tiny wire can continue to transport the strong electronic ‘signal’." These were then optical switches in biophotonic circuits. Also organic molecules could turn on the biotransistor, so that there is a highly sensitive sensor for example to discover poison gases or organic weapons.

The biotransistor has the property not to be commament. It responds immediately, can be tiny small, react to low tensions and operate with little electricity. The crystals made of germanium and bacteria produced by the Baier laboratory have a page length of only 5 microns. But still the way from the first biochips in the form of bacterial crystals to the development of application-leading transistors.

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