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With one atom per bit, this 1-kilobyte hard drive is only 100 nanometers wide

Here’s an interesting milestone to talk up around the water cooler: researchers in the Netherlands have created a microscopic storage system that encodes every bit with a single atom — allowing them to fit a kilobyte in a space under 100 nanometers across.

That translates to a storage density of about 500 terabits per square inch. For comparison, those 4-terabyte hard drives you can buy today are about 1 terabit per square inch. That’s because, unlike this new system, they use hundreds or thousands of atoms to store a single bit.