Scientists have applied genetic engineering to create proteins that can be used to create electronics. They've used the tools of molecular biology and principles of evolution to find proteins that can make new structures of silicon dioxide, commonly found in computer chips, and titanium dioxide, often used in solar cells.
In this work, the scientists demonstrated that directed evolution of a mineral-producing protein could create materials with never-before seen structures. The next challenge is to learn how to change the selection pressures to evolve a specific property, such as semiconductor performance. “This approach will begin to allow the same DNA-based evolutionary processes that have created seashells and skeletons to be harnessed to advance human technologies,” they write.
Via Szabolcs Kósa