In theory, any material, medium or phenomenon in which a given sequence of parameters can be realized is suitable for storing and transmitting information. This is the beating of signal drums, and Morse code, and binary code in microcircuits. And recently, scientists have created a synthetic molecule, a new substance, in the very structure of which information is recorded. One molecule - one data set.
Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and the Ruhr University of Bochum have chosen organometallic frameworks (MOF) as promising materials. They have a microporous structure of nanometer size, in which ions of arbitrary metals are attached to organic lattices. By changing the type of metal, MOFs with different physical and chemical properties can be obtained and used as membranes, filters, catalysts, etc.
The concept is that by varying the arrangement of individual ions, you can arrange them to form a code. For this purpose, a new MOF-74 has been designed in which the oxide framework is rod-shaped and several of these rods are combined into honeycomb-type structures. Along these rods are attached lead, cobalt, cadmium and manganese ions, the location of which is read by atomic probe tomography (APT) technology.
As a result, scientists were able to create a molecule with recorded information, and then read this data. Now they are working on a technology for rewriting molecules, which is not so easy - originally MOFs were conceived as disposable, with a fixed structure. However, it is not at all excluded that in the near future the data storage devices in our gadgets will be created using molecular technology.