Prof. Sunghoon Kwon, SNU Prof. Sunghoon Kwon’s research team develops a DNA-disk, a next-generation data storage device (Veritas alpha, 2020.09.16.)

2021-01-13l Hit 3

SNU College of Engineering announced on the 16th that ECE Professor Sunghoon Kwon developed a DNA-disk, a next-generation data storage device that may replace hard disk drives, through co-research with Kyung Hee University Professor Wook Park of the Department of Electronics and Radio Engineering, Ph.D. Yeongjae Choi of Harvard University’s Wyss Institute, and Ph.D. Hyung Jong Bae of SNU ECE.


With 90% of the world’s data being produced within the last two years, data is being generated in unprecedented amounts in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. For the storage of this vast amount of data, there is demand for the development of next-generation data storage devices that may take the place of hard disk drives(HDD). In the U.S., Microsoft, Harvard University, University of Washington, and other organizations are forming consortiums led by the government to develop DNA memory devices. DNA memory technology translates the binary digital data stored in semiconductors as 0 or 1 into quaternary data consisting of A, G, T, and C and stores this into DNA biochemical molecules. With this technology, data of the entire world can be stored in 1kg of powdered DNA.


Digital data can be stored on hard disk drives as files, but because DNA-based memory devices exist in the form of powder, there is no technology to separate, store, or extract only the desired information, nor is it possible to read information repeatedly. The joint research team was the first in the world to develop DNA memory technology that exists in a DNA-disk form and enables the separated storage of data on a file-to-file basis. Since DNA containing the information is physically combined with a DNA-disk of about the thickness of a hair so that different data is stored on different disks, there is the advantage of easy data management. In such a case, DNA-disks with tens of exabytes (1 exabyte=109 gigabyte) of information can be placed within a data center the size of a human palm. Whereas pre-existing DNA memory has the disadvantage of not preserving data when the data is repeatedly read more than ten times, testing proved that DNA-discs can reliably read information more than dozens of times.


Professor Wook Park, who is leading the research, is an authority with the world’s most competitive DNA memory technology. The development of DNA-disks is being recognized to have thrown light on the future of next-generation data storage devices. Professor Sunghoon Kwon, leading the “Digital Immunity Processing Research Team for Next-Generation Healthcare” with the support of the Ministry of Science and ICT’s leader research program stated, “As the DNA-disks developed in this research project can store individuals’ healthcare information, it can bring revolutionary change to the healthcare industry. This will allow South Korea to also take the lead in the healthcare market, an emerging industry to earn money.” This research was published on September 15th (Germany local time) in Advanced Materials, a world-renowned journal and was supported by the Samsung Research Funding and Incubation Center for Future Technology and the Ministry of Science and ICT’s Leader Research team.

(From the left) Professor Wook Park, Professor Sunghoon Kwon, Ph.D. Yeongjae Choi, Ph.D. Hyung Jong Bae / Photo provided by SNU



Translated by: Jee Hyun Lee, English Editor of Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering,