Salmon Sperm. (Photo: Ron Wong/USFWS)
Salmon sperm, cheaper replacement for silicon
Thursday, January 12, 2012, 03:50 (GMT + 9)
A group of researchers of the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany have created a DNA-based memory device using salmon sperm.
The researches chose salmon sperm cells as source of their DNA because their availability and because that they grow fast.
The "write-once-read-many-times" (WORM) uses ultraviolet light to encode information.
The device consists of a thin film of salmon DNA that has been embedded with silver nanoparticles and then sandwiched between two electrodes.
By combining the two materials and then shining a laser on the system enables tiny pathways to open between the nanoparticles, making the material electrically conductive.
That means that shining a laser on a tiny patch of the film writes a bit of data. You can read the data by sending a current through a patch of the film to measure the conductivity.
The researches said that in some cases, using DNA may be less expensive to process into memory devices than using traditional, inorganic materials like silicon.
The DNA used came from chum salmon, Oncerhynchus keta.