At the beginning of this decade, many VC-backed nanotech companies started and, mostly failed, without bringing a product to market. Since then the US National Nanotech Initiative has handed out $8 billion in R&D grants for nanotechnology work. Caltech recently held a forum in which a number of nanotech companies reported on their productisation and IPO plans. NanoGram of Milpitas, said it is working on solar power and LED applications, has raised $27m and plans to go public in 2009. Unidym of Menlo Park is working on touch-screens with nanotech technology which is claimed to make the screens brighter and more robust. It is also aiming to IPO next year. NanoDynamics of Buffalo, which is in the hydrogen fuel-cell business, is also looking to IPO when markets are favourable. It is spending $8.8 million on R&D a year, and has annual revenues of $4.4 million. In the UK, a collaboration between the Universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde and the Institute of Photonics has found a way of nano-imprinting holes into LEDs extremely quickly, efficiently and cheaply. The resultant effect on LEDs is to increase their output of light dramatically, so making them brighter without using any more power, and so bringing forward the day when they can be used for domestic lighting. LEDs not only use far less power than conventional light-bulbs, they also last for years. The result of the new nano-imprinting technology could be the obsolescence of conventional light bulbs within three years, say the Scottish researchers. TOMORROW: THE TEN BEST INVENTIONS OF THOMAS EDISON
Will 2008 See Products, IPOs, From Nano Firms?
Could 2008 be the year when nanotechnology starts to impact on the semiconductor industry?