Protein increases computer memory

Hebrew U. team uses poplar tree to improve computers.

July 23, 2010 05:03
1 minute read.
A schoolgirl checks out the Web.

kid computer 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Your home computer might soon be working in a much more “natural” way, thanks to a discovery by researchers from the Hebrew University.

They found a technique to increase the memory of computers involving the hybridization of proteins from poplar trees, and silicon nanoparticles.

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Danny Porath, a member of the team and a professor at the university’s Institute of Chemistry, said on Wednesday that the project was inspired by a talk with colleague Prof. Oded Shoseyov several years ago.

“We didn’t understand 90 percent of what we were both talking about,” said Porath, “but together we were able to come up with this idea.”

Porath, Prof. Shoseyov, Dr. Arnon Heyman, Prof. Francoise Remacle, Prof. Raphy Levine and two graduate students, Michael Klein and Izhar Medalsy, worked on the project.

The discovery can serve two purposes, Porath explained. It allows the memory element of a computer to store more information while taking up less space, and it can help the computer in its computation and logic functions.

The poplar proteins were used because they are very stable and can help to miniaturize memory elements, he said. Nobody had tried using these specific poplar particles before, although similar techniques have been used by other researchers, he said. An article on their work has been published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

The team has received patents for its work, and hopes the invention will become commercially viable soon.

Porath said he is confident that practical uses will eventually be found for the team’s discovery.

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