Fundamental Research Division
The DRF at the CEA assemble approximately 6,000 scientists since January 2016.
Scientific result | Cytoskeleton
miniaturization of electronic components is now reaching its physical
limitations. Even if space can be saved by using a three-dimensional
assembly solution, manufacturing electrical connections for these new
devices is still a technological challenge. A team of biologists and
physicists has now devised a system of self-assembled connections,
thanks to actin filaments .
Biologists and physicists from the CEA-iRTSV, the CEA-Leti, the CNRS, the UJF
and Inra at Grenoble decided to take advantage of the extraordinary
self-assembling capabilities of certain biological molecules, so that these
connections can build themselves. Many complex, regular structures in our cells
continuously assemble and disassemble. This is particularly the case for the
filamentous networks that make up the cell skeleton (cytoskeleton), composed of
The researchers have developed a technique that enables controlling the
self-assembly of actin filaments in 3D, between 2 glass plates placed 30
microns apart and microstructured with a laser beam. The researchers then
injected a solution containing actin monomers between the two surfaces, which
polymerized in response to the geometry of the microstructures. As a result,
actin columns could be self-assembled in controlled shapes and sizes. Similarly,
the researchers have succeeded in making the columns grow from a surface into
hollow cylinders, produced on the other surface, much like male/female
electrical connectors. The connections were metallized with gold nanoparticles,
allowing an electrical current to pass between the two surfaces.
 Protein that comprises the skeleton of living cells and that can
regulate and control their form.
Fabrication of three-dimensional electrical connections by means of directed actin self-organization.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.