As a result of the groundwork laid by the PACE project, the construction of one kind of artificial programmable cell is now an achievable objective in the coming three years. A project ECCell in FET-open has been approved starting September 2008.
The aim of the project is to establish a novel basis for future adaptive embedded information technology at the molecular level by constructing the first electronically programmable chemical cells (ECCell). These ECCells will function through an interplay of chemical microprocessors and information molecule chemistry. Chemical microprocessors act as coprocessors coupled to chemical information systems through a digital electronically programmable microelectrode MEMS interface, taking advantage of inte-grated electronics and microfluidics. Information processing in molecular systems is not in direct compe-tition with silicon technology, but the long-term goal is to integrate information processing with self-contained molecular construction of information processing materials and components. ECCells will pro-vide a paradigmatic proof of principle that such technology is possible and already useful in nano- and microscale embedded system applications. The novel chemical microprocessor technology required to do this will also provide a programmable real-time interface to control other complex chemical information systems. This is naturally a high-risk, embryonic research project, but based on solid interdisciplinary research and aimed at a breakthrough which will lay the foundation of a new embedded IT for immersed micro- and nanoscale molecular information processing, with a paradigm shift to digitally programmable chemical systems.
Contact: John S. McCaskill, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.