'Recordable' proteins as next-generation memory storage materials

February 11, 2008

Move over, compact discs, DVDs, and hard drives. Researchers in Japan report progress toward developing a new protein-based memory device that could provide an alternative to conventional magnetic and optical storage systems, which are quickly approaching their memory storage capacities. Their study is scheduled for the March 4 issue of ACS’ Langmuir.

Just as nature chose proteins as the memory storage medium of the brain, scientists have spent years exploring the possibility of similarly using proteins and other biological materials to build memory-based devices with the potential for processing information faster and providing greater storage capacity than existing materials.

Although a few protein-based memory materials have shown promise in experimental studies, developing such materials for practical use remains a challenge.

In the new study, Tetsuro Majima and colleagues used a special fluorescent protein to etch or “record” a specific information pattern on a glass slide. Using a novel combination of light and chemicals, the researchers demonstrated that they could “read” the pattern and subsequently erase it at will.

Thus, they demonstrated that the proteins could provide storage, playback, and erasure of information, the hallmarks of a successful memory device, the researchers say. In addition to conventional memory storage devices, the proteins also show promise for improved biosensors and diagnostic tests, they say.

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: Glucose deprivation in the brain sets stage for Alzheimer's disease, study shows

Related Stories

Researchers unlock key to memory storage in brain

April 19, 2007

Scientists know little about how the brain assigns cells to participate in encoding and storing memories. Now a UCLA/University of Toronto team has discovered that a protein called CREB controls the odds of a neuron playing ...

Recommended for you

Neural networks promise sharpest ever images

February 22, 2017

Telescopes, the workhorse instruments of astronomy, are limited by the size of the mirror or lens they use. Using 'neural nets', a form of artificial intelligence, a group of Swiss researchers now have a way to push past ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

zevkirsh
not rated yet Feb 11, 2008
when i saw the title i first thought , this sounds like someone announcing the existance of the human brain on some new drug.
MoWright
not rated yet Feb 12, 2008
The potential for organic devices in our future is immense. Nature has many uses for us if we are persistent enough to find the answers.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.