waynerad writes "Researchers at the University of Arizona are exploring ways to 'grow' microchips using proteins from living cells.
The new biological interconnects would bypass lithography, etching and soldering processes with long strings of proteins called microtubules (MT). They'll connect transistors and other devices in microchips by growing between the device junctions. They're solder-free, don't involve lithography or etching, and are highly uniform. Once the proteins connect devices, they will be coated with metal and turned into microscopic wires.
MTs are common in nature. They help cells carry out mitosis (cell division) and have diameters of about 24 nanometers. MTs also can grow to several microns in length."
[The press release also cautions: "[D]on't start looking for MTs in devices at your local electronics store any time soon. The research still is in the "basic science" stage, and much remains to be done by scientists and engineers from widely diverse backgrounds."]