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February 4th, 2005
Today, in sparkling labs equipped with powerful microscopes, scientists on three continents are promising dramatic new materials and medicines that would make alchemists proud. This work takes place in the realm of nanotechnology, industry's tiniest stage.
Within the next two years, diagnostic machines with components built at the nano scale should allow doctors and nurses to carry pint-size laboratories in their briefcases, perhaps to test for HIV or count white blood cells on the spot. Nano sensors will scour airports and post offices for anthrax and sarin. Toward the end of the decade, scientists say, new computer memories composed of nanoparticles could conceivably pack the digital contents of the Library of Congress into a machine the size of a yo-yo. By that point, Lux predicts, nanotechnologies will have worked their way into a universe of products worth $292 billion.
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