Sequenceable Sequence-Defined Oligourethanes as a Medium for Information Storage
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Physical data storage is an increasingly active field of research. Potential storage media such as DNA or RNA can encode sufficient information to be viable, but they are not stable in the long term. A potential alternative to these heavily studied polymers presented itself in plastics, especially the linear polymers of oligourethanes. These plastics demonstrate both the information density and stability necessary for long-term storage of encoded data, so long as individual units can be decoded and read at a later time. Previous work determined appropriate sequencing conditions for stepwise degradation of the oligourethanes, allowing for the reverse engineering of the sequence-defined polymer. With this proof of concept of information storage, focus was shifted toward solid phase synthesis, labeling, and sequencing of polyurethanes with diverse monomers bearing variable functionalities, to assess stability in the degradation conditions. Interest in the inclusion of Tunable Orthogonal Reversible Covalent (TORC) bonds served as the impetus for the synthesis of a Lysine-based monomer capable of “click” reactions. This monomer was successfully synthesized, integrated into a sequence-defined oligourethane, and modified with a TORC functionality using click chemistry. Moving forward, the project will focus on the sequencing of sequence-defined oligourethanes containing this and other monomers bearing variable functionalities, as well as investigating the capability of TORC-functionalized oligourethanes to form higher-ordered structures akin to DNA.