Across the country, Boise, Idaho-based chipmaker Micron has been using nanotechnology innovation as a global product differentiator for years. Micron uses nanotech to pile more circuits onto a chip wafer, reducing costs over time. The result — more computing power in a handheld cellphone than a big computer in the 1980s.
“Without this technology, there would be no place for us,” says Dean Klein, vice president of memory system development at Micron. “We make the world’s most advanced chips.”
Micron has spent billions of dollars creating fabrication rooms where chips are built.
Consumer goods companies have it easier than Micron. Some nanotechnology research labs and upstarts are supplying resins and chemicals that contain nanotechnology. For example Nano-Tex, which supplies Aquapel to Dick’s Sporting Goods and other companies, sells chemicals that coat fabric.
Creating buzzworthy new products in crowded marketplaces is a must-do goal these days. So apparel makers like Eddie Bauer and Dockers, a unit of Levi Straus, count on nanotechnology to add strength, durability or other performance properties to their fabrics.
The tiny, powerhouse technology is also being harnessed in key industries like energy, building and construction, high-tech, paints and medical device industries.
Consumer goods companies, for example, are folding nanotechnology into everything from golf balls to beer bottles.