Greensboro, NC -- Some companies are already banking on a small science dealing with matter the naked eye can't see.
Nanoscience deals with the manipulation of atoms and molecules. The Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering at NC A&T and UNCG is proving advantageous for local businesses, like Quartek.
Reyad Sawafta started Quartek with five people in 2004. He's now up to 15, and plans to expand to more than a hundred by 2012.
His company uses nanotechnology to create products that purify water and keep pizzas warm, to name a few applications.
"Instead of sending some work to be done in Florida or Indiana or Michigan or Boston, now we can do all of our work in terms of design, characterization, testing, evaluation all in Greensboro.
As he spoke, scientists tested fluids and took measurements in his lab. What gives nanoscience so much potential, is that its technology can improve anything from clothing to cars to paint to medicine and more.
"The potential for spinning off industries, spinning off companies, spinning off technologies, is really significant with nanotechnology," said UNCG economist Andrew Brod.
That's what magnifies the economic impact, even if nanoscience doesn't directly create lots of new jobs, said Brod. It's about the environment.
"It creates an environment for researchers and for innovation and for entrepreneurship," said Brod.