Computer memory based on the protein bacterio-rhodopsin
With existing methods fast approaching their limits, it is no wonder that a number of new storage technologies are developing. Currently, researches are looking at protien-based memory to compete with the speed of electronic memory, the reliability of magnetic hard-disks, and the capacities of optical/magnetic storage. We contend that three-dimensional optical memory devices made from bacteriorhodopsin utilizing the two photon read and write-method is such a technology with which the future of memory lies.
In a prototype memory system, bacteriorhodopsin stores data in a 3-D matrix. The matrix can be build by placing the protein into a cuvette (a transparent vessel) filled with a polyacrylamide gel. The protein, which is in the bR state, gets fixed in by the polymerization of the gel. A battery of Krypton lasers and a charge-injection device (CID) array surround the cuvette and are used to write and read data.
While a molecule changes states within microseconds, the combined steps to read or write operation take about 10 milliseconds. However like the holographic storage, this device obtains data pages in parallel, so a 10 Mbps is possible. This speed is similar to that of slow semiconductor memory.