Japan News: Exploring protein-based memory chips

Mar. 25, 2008 – A joint effort involving Matsushita and several universities (Tohoku U., the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Osaka U.) and others, claims to have developed a chipmaking technology that uses a type of protein to make high-performance memory chips, according to a report in the Nikkei daily.

The technology, to be discussed at a meeting of the Japan Society of Applied Physics later this week, centers on ferritin, a hollow, spherical-shaped (12nm-dia) protein, that when mixed with a liquid solution containing metals allows the particles to seep through. After filtering alkali metals, the liquid is “dripped” onto a silicon substrate, with ferritin lines self-organizing along a pattern created using an organic membrane. The substrate is then washed, dried, and heated up to 500°C to remove the protein and leave just the metal particles.

A memory element made using the substrate displayed characteristics “necessary for a memory element,” the paper notes. The developers hope to commercialize the technology in about five years, to create chips with 30x higher data capacities than those currently available.


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