Fluorescent dyes could be the next long-term data encryptors

Harvard researchers are figuring out methods of storing digital data in a mixture of fluorescent dyes.

These dyes are believed to have successfully replaced the heavy and energy-consuming magnetic tapes that are still in use for storing high and valuable data.

As for storing information for a longer duration these tapes take a lot of space, have security issues, are expensive, and can be maintained for up to 20 years. George Whitesides, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at Harvard University and the lead author of the research published by the American Chemical Society  said,

“The amount of energy needed to keep the facilities in which information is stored is much higher and in future will be higher.”

This led his team to go for fluorescent fixtures. A question emerged in George’s mind that,

“How can information be stored in such a way so that it becomes easier to use, uses less energy, and does not require many different technologies to make it work?”

He then told that this invention used cheaper materials and doesn’t require any energy once the message is written. Forgiving proof of principal George’s team encoded an iconic research paper written by Michael Faraday with their neon dye concoctions.

Seven fluorescent molecules are selected and then different mixtures are created for a sequence of bits or computer language. The inkjet printer is used to put down the mixtures onto a small section. 14,075 bytes of data, 112,600 bits approximately a 2-inch (52 millimeters) area have been contracted.

If in place magnetic tape has been used then it would take around 2.34 inches (59 millimeters) of a strip. Now the space seems to be very small but when it will be compounded to store huge data then tons of room can be freed for storage facilities.

And so the team read the information they printed earlier with a fluorescence microscope. As result, Faraday’s paper was encoded correctly and the microscope read that data over 1,000 times without any loss in information.

And as the data is permanently coded on the surface, it is very difficult to hack and researchers believed that it also might not take highly expensive maintenance in the future. George’s seven liquids have different molecules and emit wavelengths corresponding to their color.

Such molecules are fast to be read by fluorescence microscopes. Computer languages store digits in bits of 0 and 1 while alphabets are in a stream of bits. The stream of bits is then used for many purposes. Writing those bits on magnetic tape is like writing words on paper.

And in this research one dot of the team’s novel mixtures can represent a bunch of bits at a time.

In other news, we reported about a jewelry box-sized DNA storage device that can store a huge amount of data.

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