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03-19-2008

Chemical "Keypad Lock" for Biomolecular Computers

From the Journal of the American Chemical Society:

Chemists are reporting development of a "keypad lock" for accessing data from biomolecular computers, which promise to be powerful tools in many fields, including medicine and personal security.

In the new study, Prof. Evgeny Katz and colleagues describe development of a chemical "keypad lock," one of the first chemical-based security systems of its kind. The researchers note that years of effort have gone into developing biomolecular computers, which rely on chemical reactions rather than silicon chips to perform logic functions. Among their uses would be encryption of financial, military, and other confidential information. Only individuals with access to a secret "key" - a chemical key - could unlock the file and access the data.

The research by Katz and colleagues solved one part of this technological challenge: the security code. They identified a series of naturally occurring chemical reactions that act as a "keypad lock." In laboratory studies, they demonstrated that by adding the correct series of chemicals, the lock could be opened to access the computer. On the other hand, adding the incorrect chemicals to the system acts as a wrong password and prevents access to the computer, they say.

In addition to the biomolecular security applications, the enzyme-based implication logic networks will be extremely important for making autonomous decisions on the use of specific tools/drugs in various implantable medical systems.

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[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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