The aim of the project is to establish a novel basis for future embedded information technology by constructing the first electronically programmable chemical cell. This will lay the foundation for immersed micro- and nanoscale molecular information processing with a paradigm shift to digitally programmable chemical systems.
Chemical cells must combine
- self-containment and
- self-regulation of resources (metabolism)
enabling evolution to qualify as alive. Electronic chemical cells will do this in conjunction with a reconfigurable electronic system.
ECCell will employ novel families of fully synthetic hybrid informational polyelectrolyte copolymers (not simply DNA), which simultaneously support all three cell functionalities. Their microscopic multiphase self-assembly under electric field control is the primary information processing mode of this technology.
The research will establish an effective IT interface between microelectronic and molecular information processing, by demonstrating its use to achieve a hard chemical synthetic systems objective (an artificial cell) opening a platform for programming a novel chemical Living Technology at the microscale.