Storing 1 Zettabyte In 10 Grams

A team of researchers at France’s Institut Charles Sadron and Aix-Marseille University has succeeded in coding binary data into the strand of a synthetic polymer. The polymer can store 1 zettabyte of information in 10 grams of matter. Your tech requires at least one metric ton of cobalt alloy for the same storage.

Biopolymers such as DNA store information in their chains using controlled sequences of monomers. Here we describe a non-natural information-containing macromolecule that can store and retrieve digital information. Monodisperse sequence-encoded poly(alkoxyamine amide)s were synthesized using an iterative strategy employing two chemoselective steps: the reaction of a primary amine with an acid anhydride and the radical coupling of a carbon- centred radical with a nitroxide. A binary code was implemented in the polymer chains using three monomers: one nitroxide spacer and two interchangeable anhydrides defined as 0-bit and 1-bit. This methodology allows encryption of any desired sequence in the chains. Moreover, the formed sequences are easy to decode using tandem mass spectrometry. Indeed, these polymers follow predictable fragmentation pathways that can be easily deciphered. Moreover, poly(alkoxyamine amide)s are thermolabile. Thus, the digital information encrypted in the chains can be erased by heating the polymers in the solid state or in solution.

The first time I ever heard of the possibility of this kind of data storage density was in Robert Heinlein's 1951 novel Between Planets.

"It is theoretically possible to have a matrix in which each individual molecule has a meaning - as they do in the memory cells of your brain. If we had such subtlety, we could wrap your Encyclopedia Britannica into the head of a pin - it would be the head of that pin..."
(Read more about Heinlein's molecule matrix)

From DNAForce referencing Design and synthesis of digitally encoded polymers that can be decoded and erased.

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