Creating Inexpensive and Exponential Data Storage Capacity

Computer network room and USB

Currently, most information storage, whether it be on servers or flash drives, are based on silicon media. Hazardous solvents play a central role in the manufacturing of alternative data storage devices based on organic materials and many of these solvents are known carcinogens or nerve-damaging agents. Minimizing the use of these solvents is a key concern for environmental and labour safety, especially as demand for data storage products is increasing rapidly.

Today’s data-driven world has seen exponential increases in sensor proliferation and data generation. Accompanying this exponential increase in information generated is a soaring demand for data storage capabilities.

Gilroy and Fanchini groups, from the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Western University, are synthesizing new materials for organic electronics that are cheaper and more effective than traditional materials and will potentially eliminate the use of toxic solvents. Gilroy and his colleagues have developed a new method of memory storage by using an organic polymer rather than the traditional silicon-based materials. This new polymer is between three and eight times thinner than existing memory storage devices and, crucially, minimizes the amount of harmful chemicals required in its synthesis.


The Gilroy and Fanchini groups are now working on scaling up the manufacturing process for this ultrathin polymer which would allow it to be reworked for a range of devices including OLED televisions, transistors, and solar cells. In the booming field of Big Data, a central issue is the manipulation and storage of vast amounts of information; this new polymer provides a much-needed opportunity to reduce costs for the industry while simultaneously increasing data capabilities.