Images to be stored on molecules

Images to be stored on molecules

Scientists in America have stored images on a molecule in an experiment that could revolutionise the way images and data are stored. An image of 1000 bites was stored on the atoms of a single molecule, the scientists reported to New Scientist.

Scientist Bing Fung from the University of Oklahoma used a single molecule to store a black and white image of 32 pixels square. Data was added to the molecule by firing electromagnetic pulses at the molecule, these contained 1024 radio frequencies at 400 megahertz. The frequencies represented wither "1" or "0" and thus data.

Mr Fung described the process as "molecular photography". He told the New Scientist that he believes the process could one day be used to store huge amounts of data into tiny spaces.

"It's a very, very first step towards using nuclear spins for molecular information processing," he told New Scientist.

Once the data was entered on to the molecule, the scientists read it back by firing a second pulse at the molecule, the pulses, which were at a different rate to the pulses used to enter data were measured and the change in resonance provided them with the data they required.

Mr Fung has found that 198 hydrogen atoms in a liquid crystal molecule can store 1024 bits of information. He said the data is held in a series of complex interactions between the protons' magnetic moments.

Mr Fung's research could see documents scanned and stored on molecules in the future.

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