Beyond CMOS and RF devices, integrated circuits and technologies

Functional nano structures for biocomputing

© Fraunhofer ENAS
SEM-micrographs of the nano-channel-network fabricated by electron-beam-lithography (entire computational network, pass- and split-junctions). (left) Sketch of the agent transport in the junctions (right).

The EU-funded research project Bio4Comp aims to develop a device based on an approach called network-based biocomputation (NBC) to solve mathematical / combinatorial problems currently inaccessible to conventional computers due to its computational complexity. The idea is that biomolecular agents, each only a few billionth of a meter (nanometers) in size, explore a network that encodes the problem. Analyzing their routes through the network gives the optimal answer to the combinatorial problem. Due to the large number of independent biomolecular agents, propelled by molecular-motor-proteins, exploring the network in a highly parallel fashion, the solution will be obtained faster compared to conventional algorithms on computers. Notably, this approach uses orders of magnitude less energy than conventional computers, thus addressing issues related to power consumption and heat dissipation. This technique will be an excellent complement to microprocessor-based computers, particularly because miniaturization of ICs’ is limited due to emerging quantum effects and rising costs. Therefore, Bio4Comp will lay the foundation for a new and innovative technology that has the potential to outperform electronic computers and may help us solve important practical problems such as the design and verification of circuits, the folding and design of proteins and optimal network routing.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 732482.