October 24, 2001   

   DNA could crack code
DNA is a kind of number system as well as a big molecule with a talent for rearranging itself. These characteristics make it an attractive candidate for building superfast molecular computers powerful enough to crack secret codes. The key is turning the molecules into a jigsaw puzzle that solves itself.
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Transistor sports molecule-thin layer
Computer chip components made from one or even a few molecules are a long way off. But making portions of a computer transistor only one molecule thick could result in computers that are faster and cheaper.

Molecule connects contacts
Working toward the day when computers are built molecule by molecule, researchers are figuring out how to turn individual molecules into wires. The fondness gold and sodium have for each other turns out to be a pretty good solder in a world where a wire can be 1,000 times smaller than an E. coli bacterium.

PC immortalizes ancient temple
Creating detailed computer models of buildings or archeological digs usually takes hefty amounts of computer power. Setting your sights a little lower lets you get the job done with an ordinary PC.

Laser boosts liquid computer
Turning a test tube of liquid into a superpowerful computer with a cousin of the MRI machine actually seemed like a good idea until some seemingly fatal flaws began turning up recently. Using a laser to line up the liquid's unruly atoms could shorten the long odds against the technology.

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