We’ve by no means reached the limits of flash and hard drive storage capabilities, and newer WiFi capabilities open up a seemingly unlimited amount of cloud storage, but a group of researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Maryland have taken the term “cloud” a bit literally. They’ve managed to store and retrieve two sequential images in a cloud of Rubidium atoms.

The specifics, which you can find here, are somewhat complicated and non-scientific types may want to stay away; but the result of years of experimentation is that they have now been able to store images of the letters T and N in the atom cloud, and then retrieve them with 90-percent accuracy. This breakthrough is a big step towards the future of what scientists refer to as “quantum memory.”

It’s true that you probably won’t be seeing quantum memory cards any time soon, but this technology can only lead to a future with more storage options — and that we’re all for.

(via technology review via Engadget)