Nanotechnology makes use of minuscule objects, known as nanoparticles, whose width can be 10,000 times narrower than a human hair. More than 600 products on store shelves today contain them, including transparent sunscreen, lipsticks, anti-aging creams, and food products.
Global nanotechnology sales have grown to $50 billion in 2007, according to Lux Research. The final tally isn't in yet, but analysts predicted 2008 sales to be $150 billion. The National Science Foundation says the industry could be worth $1 trillion by 2015, when it would employ two million workers directly.
What makes nanoparticles so useful is their tiny size, which allows for manipulation of color, solubility, strength, magnetic behavior and electrical conductivity. That anti-aging stuff might come in handy.