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Small World

Nanotechnology will soon mean big changes in the way you do business.

This story appears in the March 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Rick Snyder, CEO of Ardesta, a holding firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has a mantra: "Smaller, faster, better, cheaper." He's talking about "small tech," a term that describes nanotechnology, microtechnology and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). Nanotechnology in particular has gotten a lot of coverage as big companies like Hewlett-Packard and Intel have begun to introduce nano into computing.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly what small tech is because it has so many wide-ranging applications. "I would call it more of a revolution than an evolution," says Snyder. Nanotechnology, for example, deals with matter at an atomic and molecular level--that is, with matter often described as being less than the width of a human hair in size. It's appearing in everything from stainproof coating for fabrics to scratch-resistant coating for eyeglasses to miniscule computer chip circuits from HP Labs.

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