Tobacco mosaic virus memory

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The Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) is an extremely common helical virus, with a positive sense RNA strand. In recent years, researchers have found that this virus can be utilized to create nano wires using platinum nanoparticles. Tseng et al.[1] have discovered that by soaking the virus in platinum nanoparticles, and then using a reducing agent was used to ionize the platinum nanoparticles so that they formed clusters on the protein coat of the viruses. When these TMV-Pt conjugated systems are spun onto a glass plate, they can be probed by electric current into certain positions that mimic a simple on/off switch, and therefore can be used to create I/0 data encoding. The rigid structure of the virus holds the nano particle in the desired on or off position, making it ideal for creating digital memory. It was reported by Tseng et al. that the on/off characteristics of the TMV-Pt structures was disrupted at temperatures greater than 318 K. Continuing research is being conducted to further explore the possibility of bio-inorganic nano devices.


  1. Tseng, Ricky J et al. "Digital memory device based on tobacco mosaic virus conjugated with nanoparticles". Nature nanotechnology, Vol:1. Pages 72–77. October, 2006.

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