Scientists have successfully used a virus to engineer a better type of memory in computers. The research, published in the journal Applied Nano Materials , found that a key way to develop faster computers is to reduce the millisecond time delays using the virus M13 bacteriophage. These delays usually come from the transfer and storage of information between a traditional RAM chip and a hard drive. A RAM chip is fast but expensive and volatile, meaning it needs power supply to retain information, said researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design. Phase-change memory can be as fast as a RAM chip and can contain even more storage capacity than a hard drive.
The new technology uses a material that can reversibly switch between amorphous and crystalline states. A binary-type material, for example, gallium antimonide, could be used to make a better version of phase-change memory. However, the use of this material can increase power consumption and it can undergo material separation at around 347°C. The researchers showed that by using the M13 bacteriophage — a low-temperature construction memory can be achieved.