In an attempt to produce low-cost nanotechnology devices, one scientist has chosen to use biomolecules such as DNA and proteins in her work.
Jen Cha, nanoengineering professor at the University of California, San Diego, explained that it may be possible to use the technique to develop transistors from carbon nanotubes.
She noted that scientists have been talking for a while about patterning different sets of proteins on a substrate and that is what she is now doing with her research team.
Ms Cha said: "Our work is one of the first clear examples of how you can merge top down lithography with bottom up self assembly to build such an array."
Nanotechnology is used for a variety of items such as sensors, consumer electronics and photovoltaics, but it has previously been difficult to find materials that are low-cost, yet capable of allowing a device to function.
One recent development in this field has been the creation of a whispering gallery microresonator at Washington University, which may be able to measure nanoparticles smaller than 100 nm in diameter.