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nanotech

kuba

TRIBE Member
some peopel here earlier stated they thought nanotech was the "next" big thing

read on...

from www.fool.com

back to work!

Profiting From Nanotechnology
In this Motley Fool special report, Carl Wherrett and John Yelovich, two long-time contributors to our nanotechnology discussion forum, will be offering an overview of what the science is and where opportunity may lie for investors. Join them for Part 2 next Tuesday, March 2.


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Nanotechnology


By Carl Wherrett and John Yelovich
February 24, 2004
In the past few months, most of us following the news wires will have seen the word nanotechnology, or will have seen the announcement of President Bush allocating some $3.7 billion to the research and development of it. Some of us will have seen it long before that, as President Clinton announced allocating some $500 million for nanotech research in 1999. And finally, some of us may well have been around in 1959 when Dr. Richard Feynman first brought the concept into the public arena.


But whether you've never heard of nanotechnology or you're already combing the landscape in hopes of reaping killer investment ideas from this science, we hope that we can offer you some useful insight from what we've learned during our four years of studying this field.


We'll start with an overview of the science and then move on to those companies that are poised to commercialize the technology and hopefully prosper.


Small means small
In simple terms, nanotechnology is the science of all things small, and when we say small we mean small. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, or, put another way, a nanometer is 1/10,000th the thickness of a human hair. Your DNA measures approximately 2 to 3 nm (nanometers are normally indicated as nm).


In 1959, observing that nature works at these nanoscule levels of measurement, Dr. Feynman concluded that man could work at them too in a seminal speech titled "There Is Plenty of Room at the Bottom." Thus, the embryonic science that became known as nanotechnology was born.


Today that science and capitalism have joined forces to produce invisibly tiny materials that will affect all of our lives. The actual term nanotechnology, by the way, was first uttered in the 1980s by Dr. K. Eric Drexler while he was an MIT undergraduate. He made it famous in his book, Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology.


Nanotechnology has now become a unifying science of what were once distinct and separate disciplines; it cuts across physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering.


The building blocks
From 1959 until the mid 1980s there was little actual development of Dr. Feynman's original ideas. Then in 1986, scientists led by Dr.Richard Smalley (no, we're not making that name up) unearthed a third form of pure carbon. They subsequently received the Nobel Prize for their work in discovering fullerenes. Fullerenes are large carbon-cage molecules. By far the most common one is C60 -- also called a "buckyball."


Soon after this, the discovery of a fourth form of pure carbon was made by an NEC employee, Sumio Iijima, which led to the production of carbon nanotubes. These are the building blocks of all things nano, with unique properties combining strength and weight. They're 100 times stronger but six times lighter than steel, coupled with the electrical conductivity of copper and the thermal conductivity of diamonds.


The unique and novel properties of carbon nanotubes and fullerenes combined with the ability to see and manipulate individual atoms using advanced microscopy and advanced photolithography would finally open up a world of possibility -- the world of nanotechnology.


The breakthrough
Finally, in 1996, as IBM (NYSE: IBM) scientists worked on ways to produce smaller, faster, and cheaper computers, they got very cute with the corporate logo and in a famous breakthrough individually manipulated 35 atoms to line up and form the letters "IBM." They moved the atoms using the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope (STM), itself a breakthrough in the field of microscopy in the 1980s. Since then, the STM has evolved into the atomic force microscope (AFM), one of the advanced tools of metrology in the nano era.


Evolution vs. revolution
Nanotech's evolution has been both necessary and inevitable. It means different things for different industries, however. In many fields, all nano will do is help create the next stage of that industry's evolution. That is, in many cases nano is needed, but not revolutionary.


In electronics, for example your current PC's Pentium 4 works at the 130 nm level, but Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) has recently announced the launch of Prescott, a 90 nm chip. Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD), as well as some other companies, are working on solving the complex engineering problems involved in producing chips at the 45 nm, 30 nm, and even smaller levels -- a process that will postpone the industry meeting the limits of Moore's Law, the accepted rule that computing power and speed will double approximately every 18 months.


Buyer beware
Investors should know that nanotechnology is not likely to produce a revolutionary upstart that will leapfrog the established electronic giants with advanced technology. We're not saying it's impossible for a true Rule Breaker to emerge, but it won't be easy. With fabrication plants costing $2 billion to $4 billion each, it probably will be prohibitively expensive for smaller companies to land the kind of financing it would take to unseat firms with deeper coffers.


Of course, if one of the major players does not keep up, or fails to solve the inherent problems in the technology, a competitor could gain an edge and steam ahead. And there is definitely more room for Rule Breakers in the nanomaterials and nanobiotechnology sectors, but investors must keep a keen eye on companies able to exploit legitimate breakthroughs and pretenders that languish forever in penny stock land.


Why it's worth watching
Nanotechnology will be important for two reasons. First, it promises an "industry" forecasted to provide $1 trillion in revenues by 2015. Second, it will impact your life irrespective of whether it meets those heady forecasts or not. Indeed, you already may be using products with nanoparticles in them and not even know it. Everyday things like tennis balls, fabrics, and sunscreens have been enhanced by using nanotechnology.


The science will further influence our lives as its prospects will have major societal effects that we'll all have to deal with. For example, do we want nano-replicators that can reproduce themselves to be freely available in these days of worldwide terror? Think about the implications for military use, or nano machines powering their way around your body to deliver their payload of drugs to the precise target that requires treatment.


All of these issues are slowly coming to the fore as scientists continue to make steady progress with the technology. Indeed, there are already dire predictions that all this will lead to the world being covered in a grey goo of miniature nano-machines or similarly defiled by a host of other potential environmental disasters.


The nano database
We first "discovered" nanotechnology during a Motley Fool online seminar four years ago when we were looking for future potential revolutionary industries. We identified the science of nanotechnology as having the potential to revolutionize practically every current major industry in the 21st century and beyond. It is a science that's that big -- and yet, ironically, so small.


Since then, we have tasked ourselves in monitoring all things nano. So far we have identified over 450 companies, the records of which we maintain in our database, that are currently active in either R&D or actually producing nano-related products. The vast majority of these companies are still currently private. Another group includes industry giants like IBM, Intel, AMD, Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Motorola (NYSE: MOT), Xerox (NYSE: XRX), Dupont (NYSE: DD), General Electric (NYSE: GE), Sony (NYSE: SNE), and others.


By our estimates, 50% of the companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average are currently producing or working on nano-related products. Still further are a group that is primarily non-U.S. listed, and, as such, less likely to offer U.S.-based investors the best investment opportunities. This group includes companies from Japan, Germany, and China. In total there are 15 non-U.S. countries working at the forefront of nanotechnology.


Which brings us to the companies we watch closely. These are the 40 or so companies that are both currently publicly traded on a U.S. exchange, and are of a size where any nano development can indeed revolutionize the company concerned, if not the industry they occupy. We've grouped these companies into three distinct industries: nanobiotechnology, nanoelectronics, and nanomaterials.


Next Tuesday (March 2), we will look at each of these in turn and introduce the companies that are already commercializing the science of nanotechnology. We hope you'll come back to Fool.com and join us then.
 

defazman

TRIBE Member
Soon after this, the discovery of a fourth form of pure carbon was made by an NEC employee, Sumio Iijima, which led to the production of carbon nanotubes. These are the building blocks of all things nano, with unique properties combining strength and weight. They're 100 times stronger but six times lighter than steel, coupled with the electrical conductivity of copper and the thermal conductivity of diamonds.

This would be really cool to make an elevator go into space.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by defazman
This would be really cool to make an elevator go into space.
Wow!! An elevator that actually takes longer to reach the ground floor than the elevator at my condo building!!
 

graham

Well-Known TRIBEr
anyone seen The Net, with Sandra Bullock ?

That is some crazy banana out there shit. Scared the crap out of me. THEY CAN DO THIS
 
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Stan

TRIBE Member
"First ve take over Russia... Zen ve unleash our little nanobots on ZE VORLD!!!" *evil villain laughter*

 

kodos

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by mr tall
anyone seen The Net, with Sandra Bullock ?

That is some crazy banana out there shit. Scared the crap out of me. THEY CAN DO THIS
nano <3
 

Mike Richards

TRIBE Member
I feel sorry for scientists today. People see these technological impossibilies on TV and in movies and then expect the scientific community to go right to work on it. They truly do have a difficult job...Pleasing the massess
 

KiFe

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Mike Richards
I feel sorry for scientists today. People see these technological impossibilies on TV and in movies and then expect the scientific community to go right to work on it. They truly do have a difficult job...Pleasing the massess

It's always been that way.




p.s. WHERE'S MY FUCKING HOVERBOARD ALREADY!?
 
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PosTMOd

Well-Known TRIBEr
In the future, instead of eating food, it will be synthesized in our mouths by a handful of NanoChefs™, who make the food in situ using molecules floating around in the air.

So, you toss in a handful of NanoChefs™, and seconds later, it's,"Mmmmmm.... chicken happening."
 

kuba

TRIBE Member
part two...

Commercializing Nanotechnology

www.fool.com

By Carl Wherrett and John Yelovich
March 2, 2004
Last week we looked at the science of nanotechnology -- what it is, where it came from, and where it's going (to the best that we can guess). Today we'll tackle its commercial opportunities. We'll give you an overview of the three "industries" -- nanomaterials, nanobiotechnology, and nanoelectronics -- that will most use the technology, and some of the companies poised to benefit from it.

The recent spike in prices of all things supposedly nano requires that we all closely scrutinize the companies in this nascent technology. There are monstrous dragons in this nano space, and careful, thoughtful research is required.

Nanomaterials
Nanomaterials is a broad term used to describe the "nanocomponents" used to make, or be included as part of, a finished product. For our purposes here, the term nanomaterials includes carbon nanotubes, fullerenes, nano-oxides, nanocrystals, and nanopowders, among others.

The market for nanomaterials is forecasted to grow by 30.6% per annum for the next five years, but the real driver of growth will be carbon nanotubes and fullerenes with an annual growth forecast of 173%.

However, the commercial production of nanotubes and fullerenes is still at an embryonic stage. A few pilot factories have been built to manufacture them, but they cannot keep up with the increasing demand from R&D departments in academia and industry eager to explore commercial applications for their products. One private U.S. company, Carbon Nanotechnologies Inc., and two Japanese industrial giants, Matsushita and Matsui, are at the forefront of developing production processes that promise to bring the price per ton of nanotubes and fullerenes down to a commercially viable proposition.

The production for other nanomaterials is slightly more advanced. For example, Nanocor, the nanotech division of AMCOL International (NYSE: ACO), has been commercially producing nanocomposite clays for supply to the worldwide plastics industry since 1998. The inclusion of nano-oxides, nanopowders, or nanocrystals helps improve dispersion and reduces abrasion in a wide variety of present-day applications in paints, polishes, waxes, creams, and lotions.

Nanophase Technologies (Nasdaq: NANX) is another established company with sales and revenues from nanomaterials. The company sells its proprietary nanocrystalline powders to BASF AG (NYSE: BF) for its sunscreen products and to the U.S. Navy for painting its ships.


Nanobiotechnology
In biotechnology, the ability to work at the nano level promises to provide the means to precisely locate diseases and precisely deliver drugs to their necessary targets. The two fields that promise to be revolutionized are drug delivery and drug discovery.

As with nanomaterials, however, present-day commercial applications are somewhat more basic and, again, what we detail below is not exhaustive.

In drug delivery, Novavax (Nasdaq: NVAX) has been working for nine years on its proprietary micellar nanoparticle drug-delivery platform, a topical emulsion of oil, water, and lipids capable of being absorbed through the skin. In October 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its Estrasorb for prevention of hot flashes in menopausal women. Novavax has partnered with King Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: KG), attacking a $1.6 billion estrogen-therapy market.

American Pharmaceutical Partners (Nasdaq: APPX) has received fast-track status for its novel nanoparticle-based drug, Abraxane, on the back of favorable phase 3 results for use in treating metastatic breast cancer when compared to the current treatment of Taxol, produced by Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY). Taxol sales in 2003 were $9 billion for a variety of treatments.

Skyepharma (Nasdaq: SKYE) estimates that 40% of drug candidates are abandoned at an early stage due to the body's inability to absorb the drug. The company's nanoparticulate drug-delivery technology promises to remove a lot of these barriers, open up new opportunities, and widen the market for some current drugs on the market.

Other companies working on nanoparticulate drug delivery are Elan Drug Delivery, part of Elan Corp. (NYSE: ELN), Eiffel Technologies in Australia, and Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) courtesy of Applied Molecular Evolution, now a wholly owned subsidiary of Eli Lilly after their recent merger. There are a host of private companies also working in this field.

Drug discovery has already been revolutionized with the introduction of microarrays and lab-on-a-chip technology. Where once it took the effort of a single chemist to view anything from one to 12 gene variations at a time, microarrays can now view thousands in the same time frame. That has produced an industry worth several hundred million dollars. Now, nanoarrays promise to exponentially increase even the volume of microarrays by working at a level far smaller than conventional microarrays.

Some of the leading companies in this field are Affymetrix (Nasdaq: AFFX), Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A), Cepheid (Nasdaq: CPHD), and Nanogen (Nasdaq: NGEN). Nanogen recently saw a huge jump in its share price after being awarded a patent for a unique nanofabrication technique.

Other companies involved in nano drug discovery are Qiagen (Nasdaq: QGENF), BioSource International (Nasdaq: BIOI), and Matsushita (NYSE: MC), which is embarking on a five-year program to be the first to develop a nano bio chip. It faces competition from a private U.S. company, Bioforce Nanosciences, which is currently looking to raise $10 million to $15 million in financing and hopes to do so backed up with an IP lock on nanoarray chip design.

In another area of drug discovery, Advanced Magnetics (AMEX: AVM) is working on receiving final FDA approval for Combidex, an MRI agent that will aid in diagnosing cancerous lymph nodes versus nodes that are simply inflamed or enlarged.

Nanoelectronics
Working at smaller and smaller levels equates in electronics to more power, more speed, and more applications.

In semiconductors, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) recently announced the launch of the Prescott chip, the first true nanochip operating at 90 nm and promising 4-gigahertz processing speed (current Pentium 4s work at 130 nm and deliver 2-gigahertz speed). Both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices (NYSE: AMD) already promise 65 nm chips (and processing speeds of 1-terahertz) by 2007.

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Toshiba , Samsung, and Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) are all working on chip designs for sub-100 nm chips. IBM (NYSE: IBM), with reportedly 700 nanotech-related patents, is working on millipede data storage as well as, ultimately, the molecular computer.

Motorola (NYSE: MOT) and Silicon Storage Technology (Nasdaq: SSTI) are developing what they call superflash memory chips working at the 65 nm level. Even that work, as cutting edge as it is, could be superceded by the advent of Magnetic RAM (MRAM) or even FeRAM. In MRAM, NVE Corp. (Nasdaq: NVEC) promises a technological leap with its proprietary technology of spintronics. IBM is also trying to bring this breakthrough to market. MRAM promises the much-awaited ability to switch on your computer as you do your TV and receive immediate pictures.

The next generation of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is already entering the marketplace with organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) being featured in digital cameras being sold by Eastman Kodak (NYSE: EK). The self-titled world leader in OLED technology is Universal Display Corp. (Nasdaq: PANL). OLEDs promise to deliver the ubiquitous "anywhere, anytime" TV screens of Minority Report fame.

Whether it is in materials, biotechnology, or electronics, the ability to see and manipulate nanosized "products" depends on the tools of atomic-force microscopes and advanced photolithography. The companies at the forefront supplying all the above industries include Veeco Instruments (Nasdaq: VECO), Keithley Instruments (NYSE: KEI), FEI Corp. (Nasdaq: FEIC), Ultratek Inc. (Nasdaq: UTEK), and Nanoinstruments, a division of MTS Systems (Nasdaq: MTSC).

Summary
In any revolutionary industry -- from trains, planes, and automobiles, and from the telegraph to the Internet -- there has always been a classic investment cycle of initial boom, followed by bust, followed by the real money being made by those left standing. It is our view that we are entering the initial boom period for nanotechnology. We would go further and say nanotechnology is currently at the point that the Internet pre-boom was at circa 1992-93. Our goal is to take the hype out of this subject and find the companies that will be left standing in the nanoworld. There may be some from those companies we have presented above, and/or they may come from the companies yet to become public.

The subject of nanotechnology is vast, the potential is immense, and its study is a wonderful endeavor to embark upon. We cannot possibly do justice to it in one or two articles, but now is the time to do the homework and become informed investors.
 

lok

TRIBE Member
Nanotech will also create the deadliest weapons the Earth has ever seen, and not because they will cause collateral damage, but because they can selectively target humans and annihilate them.

Soldiers bodies could become battlegrounds themselves.
 

PosTMOd

Well-Known TRIBEr
Personally, I think most of it is nanohype.

Sure, a couple of interesting things will come out of it, but probably from left field, BAM, all of a sudden, the one thing that everyone is looking at and saying,"WTF? That has no applications or use...." will take over, much like the PC in the early '80s.

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.
Ken Olsen (1926 - ), President, Digital Equipment, 1977

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
-- Thomas Watson
 
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