Data Storage by Element

Author:  David S. Ullery

Date: May 8, 2009.

See time stamp on original version and latest version.

There have been several updates and refinements.


MAY 8, 2009


Every element within the periodic table of elements contains unique properties that may be exploited for a new kind of data storage system.

For example, the full electrical charge capacity, mass, reflection of visible light and atomic light spectrum signature combine to form a unique set of values that can be read in up to four different ways simultaneously.

Elements that are solid at room temperature are ideal, because the cost is lower.  A slide, for example, could contain a message in the corner made up of some ideal combination of solid elements such as gold, copper, silver, platinum, carbon, silicon, lead, calcium, or other economical-to-obtain elements.  Perhaps carbon could serve as a kind of “end-of-program” marker, if there are three (or some agreed-upon number N) in a row, for example.

One reader or a combination of readers could be utilized to find and scan the atomic-sized message (data, text, ID TAG, program file, etc.).  An amplified electromagnetic signal could help distinguish electrical charge differences among the various elements deployed (“elements deployed” refers to which elements will be utilized after research, ROI analysis, and probably a form of standardization at some level).  Increasing the number of atoms at each “bit”, and/or varying the number (varying would be based on the specific element type to further increase the differences between bits.

If gold and silver where utilized, then it may be, just as an example, that a three-to-one ratio of gold-t0-silver atoms is required to economically or technically distinguish the difference) may serve as amplification for all three types of readers mentioned. There are other ways that may be exploited as well.  Perhaps multiple readers could be exploited to do a faster read utilizing statistical analysis, fuzzy logic, an AI “Expert System”, or some combination to optimize the accuracy of each ‘READ’.

Some set of elements that are both solid at room temperature, and widely distributed within the periodic table, may be the best set of candidates for scientific research in this area.  If both the masses and electric capacity are quite distinguishable among each of the selected elements, then it may be a good set of elements to select, provided the read/write/production costs are all reasonable.

If five elements may quickly and easily be distinguished in an economical manner, then a base five (radix 5) system could be employed to read and write the system. An ink-jet-printer-like device, with containers of each of the elements utilized (based on research and ROI), could be utilized to write the elements onto whatever material is desired.  A simple converter-mapper interface could be utilized to convert the system to whatever hardware or software interface specifications (including the radix change-over mapping to binary) that may be desired.


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