Bacterial builders on site for computer construction
(May 4, 2012) Forget computer viruses - magnet-making bacteria could be used to build tomorrow’s computers with larger hard drives and speedier connections.
Researchers at the University of Leeds have used a type of bacterium which 'eats' iron to create a surface of magnets, similar to those found in traditional hard drives, and wiring. As the bacterium ingests the iron it creates tiny magnets within itself.
The team has also begun to understand how the proteins inside these bacteria collect, shape and position these "nanomagnets" inside their cells and can now replicate this behaviour outside the bacteria.
Led by Dr Sarah Staniland from the University's School of Physics and Astronomy, in a longstanding collaboration with the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, the team hope to develop a 'bottom-up' approach for creating cheaper, more environmentally-friendly electronics of the future.