The Sweetest Calculator in the World

A rectangular plastic board with 384 small wells is the setting for a chemist-researcher. The chemist carefully pipets some drops of sugar solution into a row of the tiny reaction vessels. As soon as the fluid has mixed with the contents of the vessels, fluorescence starts in some of the wells. What the chemist does here – with his own hands – could also be called in a very simplified way, the ‘sweetest computer in the world’. The reason: the sugar molecules used are part of a chemical sequence for information processing.(10.1002/anie.201403769)


Author: Robert Slinn

Robert Slinn is ChemSpy's guest columnist. You can read his chemical news updates under the banner "Slinn Pickings". Robert is a Chartered Chemist (CChem), Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC) and is a Visiting Researcher in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Liverpool. He has extensive experience in R&D: synthesis, analysis and analytical methods development; troubleshooting, consultancy, and teaching/training methods in industry and in academia. Robert is also 'Physical Methods' author for the Specialist Periodical Report series 'Organophosphorus Chemistry', published by Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, UK. Robert has worked alongside David on the Bedside Book of Chemistry and a major Thomson-Reuters report on the state of the pharmaceutical industry for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry