It began in the 1980s with "turbo-" and "gen-," followed in the next decade by "holo-" and "cyber-." A few years ago it was definitely ".com." Now the newest corporate naming trend is attaching the prefix "nano-," to associate the firm with the exciting field of nanotechnology--even if the business barely touches the nano world.
Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of molecules less than about 100 nanometers in size. (One nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a hydrogen atom is about 0.1 nanometer wide.) The $7.6-billion industry rivals the biotechnology market and is growing twice as fast, according to Business Communications Company, an industry research firm in Norwalk, Conn. And this aura of fashionability and money surrounding nanotech makes it a club many are eager to join--whether they've been invited or not.
This article was originally published with the title Nanosize Me.