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Indian boffin touts protein-based '50TB DVD'

From Blu-ray to bacteria...

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

DVDs may eventually become organic, replacing dyes with light-sensitive proteins in order to boost their storage capacity to 50TB - the equivalent of 1,000 dual-layer Blu-ray Discs. It also gives them potentially the same high-speed read and write access as hard drives.

The concept was described at a nanotechnology conference held in Brisbane, Australia this week. Harvard Medical School boffin Professor V Renugopalakrishnan revealed how he created a layer of protein made by genetically modified bacteria. The protein is light-senstive, changing its structure when illuminated with light.

Unfortunately, the change last only for a few hours, so Renugopalakrishnan and his team adjusted the Halobacterium Salinarum bacteria's DNA so they produce proteins capable of retaining their changed state for years.

Renugopalakrishnan reckons that by spreading the protein on a DVD or any flat medium. The size of the molecules means that whatever the size of the device, the data density is massive. He also suggested the system could eventually be used to replace hard drives, though it's unclear whether the protien repsonds to light fast enough to operate as an alternative to magnetic storage.

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