Bacteria found in boiling springs of sulphuric acid could help scientists to 'brew' a computer in much the same way as beer is made.
According to the magazine Nature Materials, Nasa biologist Jonathan Trent believes that the bacteria might help to develop nanotechnology that could produce a computer which assembles itself.
The chemistry keeping the microbes alive may be the key to creating perfect arrays of tiny particles, which is one of the primary goals of the emerging discipline of nanotechnology.
If Trent can get such a device to put itself together, as a living system does, then building an ultra-small computer chip would be as simple and as cheap as brewing beer.
The particles would be extremely small, at just 1.4 to 10 nanometres in diameter.
At this scale components behave according to the laws of quantum mechanics, making it possible for electrons to jump from one particle to another without the need for connecting wires.
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