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April 30th, 2007
It's an oft-misquoted maxim in the world of nanotech that, in any gold rush, the only people who get rich are the ones supplying picks and shovels.
The next port of call is invariably a company such as FEI, whose slogan is Tools For Nanotechnology. And although electron microscopes may reveal some intricacies of the nanoworld, we really need to concentrate on the big picture. So let's start with some big numbers, fresh out of our analytical department.
In 2006, the global chemical industry spent some $2.9 billion dollars on nanotech-related research and development (R&D); that's almost three times what the US government spent on nanotech. And while government funding will remain fairly flat--how many national nanotech centers of excellence do you actually need--we see chemical industry growth continuing at some 25 to 30 percent a year until 2012.
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