Most computers we have today use are binary computers, with information basically being stored in 0’s and 1’s, called bits, which are stored and read by physical things like electricity. This limits a computer’s capability. For more powerful computers called quantum computers, they store information in quantum bits, aka qubits, and can be both a 0 and a 1 at the same time until it’s time to read the information in it. Therefore making it capable of handling more data much faster and more efficiently. Today, scientists from the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IPC PAS) in Warsaw have developed a method of storing information in chemical droplets in a 1-bit chemical unit called a “chit”.
Source: Programming 4 us
The chit is composed of 3 droplets in which chemical reactions occur in a cyclic and consistent pattern. The memory is rooted in the Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction, which reacts in an oscillatory manner. Each reaction creates the reagents and triggers the next reaction, continuing on and on in a cycle. The reactions are catalyzed by ferroin and ruthenium, which causes the chit to change in color and make the reaction sensitive to light, respectively. The light sensitivity reaction is important, as when blue light is shined upon it, the oscillatory motion stops. This allows the researchers to control the process.
This method gives rise to a whole new kind of computing, called “chemical computing”, where instead of using bits or qubits, all the components are chemical. This gives rise to a whole new way of storing, reading, and transferring information and possibly new kinds of computers.
While technology is constantly evolving and getting better and better, most of our technology today is built upon binary computing. It’s the most basic and fundamental part of technology, which is why despite quantum computers gaining popularity, they are still at their early stages, with quantum computers being heavy, bulky, and huge enough to fill entire rooms, similar to when the first binary computers were made.
Source: Programming 4 us
This is because you can’t just easily replace a device’s very basic structure. You can’t take an android phone and just suddenly make it use qubits. This is because everything in that single device revolves around the use of binary digits and electricity, so changing it means having to change everything about how the device works and functions.
With that in mind, chemical computing will probably take a while before we can build a full-functioning computer out of it. It’s a pretty cool piece of technology, but we still have yet to know whether it’s more advantageous than traditional or quantum computers or not and whether the cost of creating it is worth those advantages.