IBM have achieved greatly in successfully making a storage device that can store a bit of information in a space equivalent to that of a single atom. Considering that modern hard drive requires a space of 100,000 atoms to store a single bit, then IBM have taken us to another level in terms of storage devices. However, do not expect it in the new version of smartphones to come as it need a liquid nitrogen cooled tunneling electron microscope operating in a vacuum for it to work. According to IBM, this technology can store all the thirty five million tracks on iTunes in a storage the size of a credit card.
For the system to work it uses atoms of holmium that are seated on top of magnesium oxide surface. The magnesium oxide is used to keep the magnetic poles steady even if there is an introduction of another magnet. These magnetic poles are the determinants whether an atom constitutes as a I or O depending on their orientation. To reverse the magnetic poles, scientists pass an electrical current over the holmium, which in turn helps in reading the information by measuring the amount of current that is passing through the atom.
In conclusion, it is quite an achievement and an advantage to big companies that store their data in big warehouses as they will now focus in converting the warehouses into something that can increase their cashflow or rather dispose it. Although it will take year before we can witness this type of storage on our devices, I bet it us quiet unnecessary to have such a massive storage in your pockets, unless you want to keep a whole library of books to yourself.