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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > Alan Shalleck-NanoClarity > Progress - Profitable Nanotech Investment Business Models Coming

Alan Shalleck
President
NanoClarity LLC

Abstract:

Finally - a light at the end of the tunnel - progress -at least in a few end product markets and development facilities. Fifteen years after the first NNI and of amazingly creative nanoscience, fundamental research at the nanoscale, four generations of instrumentation/ production equipment and "top down" nanotech based but uneconomic products, investors may be on the edge of a second opportunity for profits within a new nanotechnology world.

September 15th, 2014

Progress - Profitable Nanotech Investment Business Models Coming

Progress - Profitable Nanotech Investment Business Models Coming
By
Alan B. Shalleck Ph.D.
September 15, 2014



Finally - a light at the end of the tunnel - progress -at least in a few end product markets and development facilities. Fifteen years after the first NNI and of amazingly creative nanoscience, fundamental research at the nanoscale, four generations of instrumentation/ production equipment and "top down" nanotech based but uneconomic products, investors may be on the edge of a second opportunity for profits within a new nanotechnology world.

The Nano world seems to be evolving into the practical incorporation of nanotechnology in the macro world the founders (Kurzweil et al) envisioned. Two developments… discussed below… may be significantly altering the landscape and changing independent company prospects: A revolutionary nanotechnology based structure for cooling electrons at room temperature for all forms of microelectronics, and the new $350 million, 200,000 sq. ft. MIT.nano nanotechnology R&D facility in middle campus focused on practical scaling from nano size to macro size scheduled to open in 2017. One will change the way electronics will be designed and manufactured in all industries and all applications. The other will enable changing all other nanoscience into useful nanotechnology macro products at an accelerated rate. Both are game changers.

Most of the practical applications of nanotechnology since the first Nanotechnology National Initiative in 1999 have been small, incremental, unimaginative top down extensions of existing technology, or imaginative and superb nanoscience that turned out to be not scalable or economic.

Few business models project nanoscience developments (occurring at the lowest level of the product value chains) to be sustainably profitable at macro size. The problems of scale-up are myriad. Scale up lags in reliability and repeatability. Scale up introduces variations, errors, and imperfections. Scale up processes use too much energy leading to costly unusable solutions, scale up loses needed technological features as scale up progresses… and scale up is expensive, distorting the final business model. There just wasn't and still isn't any dollar room for nanotech at scale up integration. In electronics, constant shrinkage within the nanoscale required chip input power increases that generated immense chip heat that had to be dissipated, limiting performance and creating environmental problems, stressing energy and power networks to breaking points. Cooling these circuits was expensive and resource consuming. Environmental impact factors are becoming the practical concerns of electronics manufacturing and applications, not performance. In sum, we may finally have reached the level where next generation chip capability has to be limited because of power and heat generation, and as well as Nano scale metallurgy.

Environmental limiting electronic design phenomena might be soon over. Developers at UT Arlington have developed a chip "containing Nano scale structures that enable electron cooling at room temperature. The process involves passing electrons through a quantum well to cool them and keep them from heating. " All the structures involved are nanotechnology at its finest. Such "Cold electrons" will change designs of transistors used in all electronics, reducing power requirements by over 40% in most applications…
Think of server farms, cell phones with longer lasting batteries, military electronics with much lower battery toting requirements, miniature calculating and communicating devices, aerospace applications, and on. Cooling electrons at room temperature for use in microelectronics applications is a game changing development and will lead to practical uses very rapidly.

The other advance is at MIT and it brings together all of the work done to date. MIT (my school) is focused on both the theoretical and practical uses of technology… making technology work for mankind at macro scale. After all, it is an engineering school. All MIT research and development these days, including biomedical, begins at the nano scale. Every department is focused on use of the ‘bottom' for its discipline. Because of demand for lab space, the administration determined it was time to take a quantum leap in facilities to accelerate the nanotech scale up processes and all macro applications of the small unit nanotechnological developments at the Institute.

MIT has determined to be a game changer. It has committed $350,000,000 to building a 200,000 square foot state of the art Nanotechnology Laboratory that will be a magnet for scale up process developments and for accelerating the many now ready for scale up developments in all departments all over MIT. After talking to administration and faculty who will exploit the facilities (including regional public and private research organizations) I anticipate that when the lab opens in 2017 practical applications of many of the developments funded by the NNI over the last decade will find foundation as MIT.nano (what the building will be called) comes on line. Looking at the building designs and plans, my sense is that there will be amazing investment opportunities coming out of MIT.nano. The time to investigate and lay the seeds for future investment is now. More detail on MIT.nano in my next article. MIT.nano will be a national treasure and a unique asset for this country as we find new technology in the 21st Century.



Alan B. Shalleck, Ph.D.
NanoClarity LLC
www.nanoclarity.com


© 2014 NanoClarity LLC - all rights reserved.

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