After Silicon Chip Storage, Will We Use Salmon DNA?

Apparently, salmon are good for more than being a bear’s favorite fish, spawning, or being smoked and chopped into sashimi. A team of scientists have discovered that they can use salmon DNA as a cheaper alternative storage medium to silicon.

The scientists from the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany have created a "write-once-read-many-times" (WORM) memory device. The device uses a thin film of salmon DNA that’s been coated with silver ions and sandwiched between electrode layers.

An illustration of the memory device consisting of a thin DNA biopolymer film sandwiched between electrodes. [Photo: Applied Physics Letters]

When the DNA biopolymer nanocomposite is shined with a UV light, the light causes the silver atoms to condense and form into nanoparticles. These silver packets absorb energy from the UV radiation until they reach an “on” state, while other sections remain “off,” thus forming the 0s and 1s of data storage.

The scientists also discovered that their organic memory device could not be altered again, regardless of the amount of voltage they applied to it. At the same time, the switched-on nanoparticles did not lose their conductivity for a period of roughly 27 hours. These are two properties make salmon DNA applicable for an optical storage medium.

[Applied Physics Letters via Gizmag/ Salmon photo: ZaNiaC on Flickr(CC BY 2.0)]

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