Technology

What is a “liquid” hard drive and how does it work?

Most recently, we told you thatscientists are approaching the creation of a molecular computer. However, this is not the only way to "use" molecules in the creation of various types of electronic devices. For example, a group of researchers from Brown University (USA) recently presented the first prototype of the so-called “liquid” hard disk. It is called so because a special solution with molecules inside acts as a carrier of information in it. But how does it work and why is it needed?

What is a "liquid" hard drive

Strictly speaking, the use of molecules asmeans for storing information is not a new thing. Attempts (and very successful) of writing data into DNA molecules have already been made repeatedly. Why do you need it? It's simple. Due to the special structure of the DNA molecule, the recording density of information is several hundred times greater than similar carriers made using “ordinary” technologies.

This means that, roughly speaking, while maintainingthe size of a standard hard drive, you can write such amount of data, for which you previously needed to store a huge server. However, researchers from the United States suggested that not only DNA would be suitable for this purpose, but also other molecules, on the basis of which they made their first molecular “liquid” hard disk.

How does the "liquid" hard drive

In their experiments, scientists usedsubstances called "metabolomes." They are complex sugars, amino acids and other molecules, mixed in a solution in certain proportions. While recording information, the molecules begin to react with each other, forming new compounds. They are the carriers of information. And reading the recorded data is performed by a fairly simple chemical analysis of the composition of the solution.

Moreover, experts argue that to record andstoring information can use a wider set of molecules, thereby increasing the number of possible combinations of substances and, accordingly, increasing the recording density.

This is interesting: Created a computer based on DNA.

The first "liquid" hard drive looks like the following.way: the solution of molecules is divided into several parts, each of which is equal in volume to one nanoliter. These parts of the solution are distributed over the surface of the plate. Each part of the solution is placed in its own cell. At that moment, when a solution of another type is supplied to the surface of the plate (this is exactly what “incoming information” is), it interacts with the solutions in the cells and forms new substances. These substances remain in the cells and represent the information already recorded. After that, it remains only to read the data that is recorded on the "liquid disk".

In this way, during the experiments, scientistsmanaged to write a graphic file of 2 kilobytes. You can see it in the picture above. It is made in the form of an anchor with the words "Nora". Yes, 2 kilobytes is nothing compared to the huge multi-terabyte monsters on the market today. But it should be understood that this is only the beginning of the development of technology and, all other things being equal, the new approach is much more promising.

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