Precision macromoleculers for data storage and encryption

01 November 2019 → 03 September 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Macromolecular and materials chemistry not elsewhere classified
    • Organic chemical synthesis
  • Engineering and technology
    • Materials science and engineering not elsewhere classified
Project description

Every year, humanity stores more than double the amount of data than in the previous year. It is predicted that by 2040, there will be more data to store than there are resources available to produce the required storage devices. This problem is thus seen as one of the largest technological challenges in the upcoming years. In the last decade, scientists have discovered that DNA can store 1 million times more data than the state-of-the art silicon wafers that are used today. Nonetheless, the use of DNA to store data holds some practical issues. Not only is the technology still too expensive, but DNA is also susceptible to degradation, which causes errors during data read-out. Therefore, cheaper but also more stable organic macromolecules present highly emerging alternatives for data storage. This proposal defines chemical strategies to store a larger amount of data on a short strand, by systematically introducing branching points. Instead of coding one information in one position, this approach allows us to add multiple pieces of information, so that the same amount of data can be stored on a shorter and also more stable chain of molecules compared to DNA counterparts. The development of such an approach would also enable us to generate molecular pin codes that, besides data storage, could also find applications as chemical marker in anti-counterfeiting technologies or for identification purposes.