Defined-sequence polymers have great potential as durable and high-density data-storage media. DNA already fulfils this role in nature, using the sequence of its four nucleobases to store genetic information. Synthetic DNA can be used to store binary codes, and it is both more durable and can store information at a much higher density than conventional silicon-based storage systems. Other defined-sequence synthetic polymers have properties that make them even more suitable for data storage, at least in principle, assuming that complete control over their composition, that is, their monomer sequence, can be achieved. This Review addresses the current status of data storage in DNA, proteins and synthetic polymers, with the objective to overcome the problems of current data storage technology.
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R.J.M.N. acknowledges support from the European Research Council (ERC Advanced Grant ENCOPOL-74092) and from the Dutch National Science Organization NWO (Gravitation program 024.001.035).
Nature Reviews Chemistry thanks S. Harrisson and the other anonymous reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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A mechanically interlocked molecular architecture in which a macrocycle is kinetically trapped on a thread by the presence of two large ‘stoppers’.
- Monodisperse polymers
Polymers composed of uniform molecules with the same structure and mass. Naturally occurring polymers are frequently monodisperse, while synthetic polymers are usually not.
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Rutten, M.G.T.A., Vaandrager, F.W., Elemans, J.A.A.W. et al. Encoding information into polymers. Nat Rev Chem 2, 365–381 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41570-018-0051-5
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