French researchers produce the first sequence-encodable synthetic polymers

A ground-breaking polymer structure that allows to encode, decode and erase digital information was synthesised by French researchers and reported in Nature Communications.

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An example of binary-coded polymer
Nature Communications, 6, Article number: 7237

The team of Prof Jean-François Lutz from the Institute Charles Sadron (CNRS) in Strasbourg, in collaboration with Prof Laurence Charles from the Institute of Radical Chemistry (CNRS/University Aix-Marseille), devised a new synthetic methodology enabling to add in a controlled way a specific and well-defined sequence of monomers.
Using three monomers, acting as a spacer, a 0-bit and a 1-bit, the researchers were able to implement a binary code into a polymer chain, which could be then decoded using tandem mass spectrometry and erased through heating.

Albeit in its infancy, this technique has potential to store messages of a few kilobytes to megabytes and could be used to develop molecular bar codes.

For further information, please read the original article and the CNRS press release.

Written by Dr Mariana Beija

Published on 18/06/2015

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