DNA Micro-Disks As Next-Generation Data
Storage Device

Development of DNA micro-disks to substantialize a palm-sized data center

Significant improvement in efficient managing and stability suggesting a preemptive direction for future research

From left, Professor Wook Park of the College of Electronics and Information, Kyung Hee University, and Professor Sunghoon Kwon of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Seoul National University, Doctor Yeongjae Choi of Wyss Institute, Harvard University, and Doctor Hyung Jong Bae of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Seoul National University.

SNU College of Engineering announced that SNU Professor Sunghoon Kwon of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering developed the DNA micro-disks, a next-generation data storage device that can replace hard disks, through joint research work with Kyung Hee University Professor Wook Park of the Department of Electronics and Information, Harvard University Doctor Yeongjae Choi of Wyss Institute, Seoul National University Doctor Hyung Jong Bae of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
With 90% of the world's data being generated within the last two years, an unprecedented amount of data is being produced in the current era of the 4th Industrial Revolution. In order to store such a vast amount of data, technological development for the next-generation data storage devices that can replace hard disk drives (HDDs) is becoming a necessity; in the United States, Microsoft, Harvard University, and Washington University have formed government-led consortiums to develop DNA-based data storage.
DNA-based data storage is a technology that converts binary digital data, which used to be stored as 0 and 1 in semiconductors, into binary data consisting of A, G, T, and C and stores it in DNA molecules. With this technology, all the data around the world can be stored in a kilogram of powdered DNA.

The mechanism of DNA micro-disk data storage and palm-sized data center

Digital data can be stored on hard disks on a file-by-file basis, but because DNA-based data storage exists in powder form, there is the limitation of the absence of technology to separate, store and retrieve only the desired information, and that information could not be read repeatedly.
In response, the joint research team developed the world's first DNA-based data storage technology in the form of a DNA micro-disk, which allows separate file units to be stored. The data encoded DNA is stored in a DNA micro-disk about the size of a thickness of a hair and has the advantage of being easy to manage data because different information is physically stored on different disks. In this case, DNA micro-disks containing dozens of exabytes (1 exabyte = 109 gigabytes) of data can be stored in a palm-sized data center.
While traditional DNA-based data storage had the disadvantage of not being preserved after reading of the data, it was confirmed that DNA micro-disk could reliably read information more than a dozen times.
Professor Wook Park, who led the study, is a world-renowned authority who possesses DNA-based data storage technology that boasts of being within the world's highest price competitiveness. The development of DNA micro-disk is seen as a preemptive solution for next-generation data storage devices.
Professor Sunghoon Kwon leading the "Digital Immunity Processing Research Group for Next Generation Healthcare" with the support of the Ministry of Science and ICT's leader research project, predicted that "the DNA micro-disk developed in this study could also significantly change the healthcare industry as individual healthcare information can be stored." In addition, he expressed confidently stated that "This will allow South Korea to lead even the healthcare market, which is emerging to be the next generation field."
This research was published on September 15 (local time in Germany) in <Advanced Materials>, a world-renowned academic journal, and was supported by Samsung Research Funding Center of Samsung Electronics, and Basic Science Research Program through the NRF funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT's Basic Research Project (Leader Research).

A DNA micro-disk that can store digital data on a file-by-file basis

For further information, please contact Prof. Sunghoon Kwon (skwon@snu.ac.kr).