Salmon DNA-based memory device

February 6, 2012

An illustration of the memory device --- a thin DNA biopolymer film sandwiched between electrodes; memory-switching is activated by UV light (credit: Yu-Chueh Hung et al./Applied Physics Letters)

Researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany and the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan have created a DNA-based “write-once-read-many-times” (WORM) memory device to achieve more cost-effective data storage.

The device consists of a thin film of salmon DNA embedded with nano-sized particles of silver and then sandwiched between two electrodes. To store information, ultraviolet light is used to make the silver atoms cluster into nano-sized particles, which encode the data.

The device is able to hold charge under a low current, which corresponds to the off-state. Under a high electrical field the charges pass through the device, which then corresponds to the on-state.

Once written, the device appears to retain that information indefinitely. The researchers report that the material’s conductivity did not change significantly during nearly 30 hours of tracking.

Light-triggered silver nanoparticle formation using salmon sperm DNA templates integrated in a memory device design (credit: Dr. Ljiljana Fruk/KIT)

The authors expect the technique to be useful in the design of optical storage devices and suggest that it may have plasmonic applications as well.

This work combines new advances in DNA nanotechnology with conventional polymer fabrication platform to realize novel DNA-based organic devices.

Ref.: Yu-Chueh Hung, et al., Photoinduced write-once read-many-times memory device based on DNA biopolymer nanocomposite, Applied Physics Letters, 2012; [DOI:10.1063/1.3671153]