In this issue of NanoNews-Now Editor Rocky Rawstern covers nanotechnology toolmakers in a survey.

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Rocky Rawstern - Editor, Nanotechnology Now -
Rocky Rawstern
Editor Nanotechnology Now
Foresight Senior Associate

Nanotechnology Toolmakers Survey

In this survey I asked 2 sets of questions of nanotechnology toolmakers.

It is said that in any new "industry" (1) that the first money-makers are the event organizers and toolmakers. So my intention with this survey was to gauge how well they were doing, and how well they expect to be doing in the coming years.

Here is the first set of questions:

  • Could you give us a brief overview of your current products? What types of tools are you selling the most of now, and to what types of business?
  • In what areas have you seen growth in the last 3 years?
  • Do you see current trends continuing as research labs worldwide continue to staff up?
  • Do you see the market flattening once these labs are fully equipped?
  • Please comment on whether you see new tool development as enabling you to continue your growth path.

Here is the second set questions, answers for which (due to Sorbanes/Oxley concerns, and safe harbor issues) will be aggregated and purposefully out of order.

  • What are your near-term expectations regarding sales of your tools? (In terms of dollars, and in next 3 years)
  • What types of tools do you expect to sell the most of in the next 3 years, and to what types of business?
  • Can you talk about new tools you will be bringing to market in the near future? What types of demand will they service?
  • In what areas are you projecting growth in the next 3 years?

Each respondent will be represented in the response section by their initials. For instance, Vic Peña's responses will be proceeded by "VP" - this allows you to read all the responses to each question as a group, without having to repeat the questions.

Clicking on the details link will take you to a section with details about each respondent and their company.

(1) Keep in mind that nanotechnology is not - nor will it be - an "industry" unto itself. Rather it is a collection of advances in the nanosciences, which have in common the nanoscale, and the unique properties that occur in the 1 - 100 nm range.

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The following people/businesses responded to this survey:

Vic Peña (VP), CEO nanoTITAN. details

Dag Henrikz (DH), Area Manager Obducat. details

Dr. Lev Dulman (LD), CEO AngstroVision. details

Patrick O'Hara (PO), President & CEO Ambios Technology. details

Rafael Fernandez (RF), General Manager Nanotec Electronica. details

Sam Buffington (SB), COO / CFO Molecular Imaging. details

Richard Stein (RS), President Cooke Vacuum Products. details

Here are their responses:

Could you give us a brief overview of your current products? What types of tools are you selling the most of now, and to what types of business?

VP: nanoTITAN, Inc., is committed to being the primary producer and provider of nanoinformatics to the nanotechnology community. We are focused on enabling the development and commercialization of nanodevices. We offer state-of-the-art software, unique databases, and custom simulation, visualization and analysis services to scientists and engineering working in nanotechnology. Towards achieving this goal, our growing and unique software tools catalogue is:

  • nanoXplorer™ 2005, our flagship offering first previewed at the Nanotech2005 Conference provides nanodevice developers tools to research, design, visualize, simulate, and integrate the full range of their nanodevice concepts. nanoXplorer 2005 follows the release of nanoXplorer 1.x which introduced a basic nanodevice design environment, the first to the market.
  • nanoML®, the first language for the electronic collaboration and interchange of nanodevice data. nanoML is now widely used worldwide and was described in a article, on October 11, 2002.
  • nCyclopedia™, a nanotechnology Wiki available on the nanoTITAN web site and nCyclopedia Plus, an enhanced selection of news, articles and data for nanotechnology topics available exclusively from nanoXplorer 2005.
  • nVisualizer™, a powerful data visualization application that offer clients an easy to use tool for converting digital data into 2D, 3D, and aural elements. Its component architecture allows rapid development of interactive information spaces.
  • Open source Java™ libraries of general use to scientists, engineers and developers, including the popular Quantity Library which models numerous quantities, their units and operations.

Our sales of nanoXplorer have been brisk, most notably, the sale of 12 seats to Central Michigan University just last month. Also, our overseas sales continue to grow, especially with the introduction of our nanoXplorer in Korea.

nVisualizer continues to be be a strong producer, especially in our providing custom visualization integration services to a large Defense and National Security Contractor.

Our goal of becoming the nanoinformatics provider of choice is fast becoming a reality especially in academia where our strongest market exists today. Our customers tell us that there are three areas where our products excel, and notably nanoXplorer: Ease of Use, Graphics, and Robustness.

With the release of nanoXplorer 2005, we will be meeting the demand for an easy-to-use, robust, single environment, research, design, visualization, simulation and integration tool for which our market research tells us there is great demand.

DH: Nano Imprint Lithography (NIL) equipment, E-beam recording (EBR) equipment, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) equipment, and Stamps that are used in NIL equipment. NIL is selling the most. Our systems are used in the Information storage-, Semiconductor-, Display-, Optical device-, and Sensor- application areas.

LD: Angstrovision developed a non-conventional type of optical imaging technology, and because of that, answering your questions without first discussing existing problems in imaging microscopy and reasons why the new approach is necessary could be very misleading.

Since nanotechnology is a process of manufacturing nano structures from elementary components (such as molecules) therefore, to control such manufacturing process specific information is required. Specifically, the process control requires access to metrologically accurate measurement of three-dimensional nano-structures, non-destructively, in real time, giving nano-resolution in all three dimensions. In addition, such information must be taken simultaneously from all objects of interest in order to preserve the dynamic nature of nano structural world. Yet none of the existing tools is capable of delivering such information individually or in any combination. That is why nanotechnology, as no other technology before, is suffering from limited access to the informational basis that limits ability of understanding nano structural reality and its dynamic behavior. In other words, today we cannot "see," study, measure, analyze and therefore develop inexpensive and highly efficient nano-manufacturing techniques and processes.

Currently available tools provide very limited and not very reliable information; that is not sufficient to support development of nanotechnology. I would suggest that in order to solve current informational crisis in imaging microscopy we have to recognize first that available technologies are not capable, in principle, of supporting development of the next generation of informational tools.

The existing technological gap of current tool capability is a good example. Optical tools are capable of producing two-dimensional information at a very high speed, non-destructively, and with limited resolution (hundreds of nanometers). Electron microscopy tools are capable of producing two-dimensional information, destructively, with very low speed, but very high lateral resolution, in Angstroms. Scanning technology tools like STM, AFM and others could produce three-dimensional information with low speed, semi-destructively, and with relatively high resolution (in tens of nanometers). And no available technology could, even theoretically, cover the whole dynamic range of resolutions, from micrometers to Angstroms, under conditions of high speed, three-dimensionality and non-destructiveness.

As a result, nanotechnology is forced to employ empirical methods in development, which is very expensive, time consuming and completely unpredictable. Meanwhile, the informational tool industry is forced into incremental, performance limited, non-effective and very expensive improvements of existing technologies.

Angstrovision developed, demonstrated and patented new optical imaging technology that allows complete, non-destructive, three-dimensional, very high speed, and nano-resolution in all three axis, access to the informational content of three-dimensional nano-structures and their dynamic behavior. And that makes Angstrovision technology unique and non-compatible by performance with the rest of the imaging technologies. Angstrovision believes that its imaging technology will increase the probability of successful developments in nanotechnology.

We expect our entry markets to be inspection of semiconductor modules and wafers. We also expect, based on our marketing study, relatively high demand from universities and biological laboratories, where our tool's capability will open new possibilities in research and development. Ability to observe dynamic behavior of materials, specifically biological, on molecular level, non-destructively, in their natural state (which has not been done) could create an enormous effect in the development of new drugs and new materials.

PO: We manufacture two stylus-type profilers one of which is a more manual, lower cost stylus profiler to meet the needs of researchers who don't need the automation that our other profiler offers. Just last year we introduced our new scanning white light interferometer which offers both high lateral and Z resolution in a "microscope like" configuration. Our focus is to provide researchers with varying fields of view with which to evaluate their surfaces, from inches with our stylus profilers to several hundred microns with our interferometer, while always maintaining extremely high Z resolution. As we grow, we will continue to offer our customers instruments that will allow them to evaluate their surface from atomic length scales to many inches.

As our interferometer is still quite new, we are selling many more stylus type profilometers. Both types of instruments are sold to national laboratories, fortune 100 companies, top tier semiconductor companies, start up biotechnology companies, and premier academic research institutes worldwide.

RF: "Cervantes" Scanning Probe Microscope: a Scanning Probe Microscope that maximizes estability and versatility, allowing the highest resolution, as well as the widest experiments range. "Dulcinea" Control System: the most versatile SPM control system. It allows controlling any SPM with the maximum resolution and versatility. "WSxM" Software: the famous free software for SPM data view and analysis, allowing you to read almost any SPM format available.

Scanning Probe Microscopes, mainly to Research Centers and Universities.

SB: Molecular Imaging is the premier manufacturer of Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) and Scanning Probe Microscope (SPM) systems for high-resolution imaging in fluids or ambient air under controlled temperature and environmental conditions. Our products are designed for nanotechnology research applications in life science, biotechnology, electrochemistry and material and polymer science.

We are selling AFM’s and SPM’s mainly to researchers in universities, both domestic and international.

RS: High vacuum systems for customer-specified applications. E-beam evaporators, III-V technologies.

The industries that nanotechnology will likely have a disruptive effect on in the near term include the following:
(Amounts are Billions of US Dollars)




Long Term Care








U.S. Chemical












Hospitality / Restaurant


US Insurance




Corrosion Removal


US Steel




Diet Supplement


















Blue Jeans




Fluorescent Tagging

Figures are from:

The Next Big Thing Is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business. J Uldrich & D Newberry. March 2003
Read our review

NANO - John Robert Marlow. Hardcover January 2004
Our Review
The Superswarm Interview
The Superswarm Option
Nanoveau - This column will cover the science, the speculation, and (occasionally) the politics of nanotechnology and related topics. If you want to know what nanotech is about, and how and why it will change everything we know-Nanoveau is for you.

Got Nanotechnology?
If not, read this:

Our Molecular Future: How Nanotechnology, Robotics, Genetics, and Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Our World.
Douglas Mulhall, March 2002
Read our review

In what areas have you seen growth in the last 3 years?

VP: With regard to software tools sector, there is an unprecedented demand for modeling and simulation tools. There appear to be several reasons for this, but the most prevelant in my opinion is to mitigate the risks inherent in moving an unproven nanodevice design to production without some order or level of testing in a simulated environment of its intended end-use.

This demand growth will continue to increase as more and more research and development is conducted and the knowledge base of nanotechnology grows. There is another aspect to this growth, and that is the financial underpinning to the research and development of nanotechnology. At the present time, most nanotechnology research and investment funding is in the form of governmental grants and contracts relative to commercial or private investing. In the future, both near term and long term, the commercial sector will move in quite energetically and expansively. Investment by venture capitalists, Wall Street (implying IPOs), Fortune 500 businesses, and start-ups will all position to catch the market wave that will be created by market forces, commercialization of marketable nano-enable products, nano-products, and sophisticated products market demand.

DH: All of them.

PO: Our growth has come at the expense of our competitors. Although the market for surface measurement systems at high resolution has increased modestly, our substantial growth has come by consuming market share. This market is very diverse and as a result it is difficult to characterize.

RF: All areas are showing more interest in Scanning Probe Microscopes every year. Recently, biologists and chemists are getting nearer to this technique.

SB: Funding for research in nanotechnology is up.

RS: None

Do you see current trends continuing as research labs worldwide continue to staff up?

VP: Not to be facititious, but this is probably the same type of question that might have been asked of electricity, the automobile, nylon, the computer, and other evolving and contributive technologies throughout history.

But in the case of nanotechnology, it is so universally impacting on the socio-economic-technological fabric of the human experience, that demands for better tools will grow in a previously unprecedented manner. As more knowledge is accumulated and achieved, more innovation and inquiry will result in the new age described in current literature. The foundation of this age of discovery, which we call "The Diamond Age", will be built growing scientific knowledge, and on the resultant demand and supply of better and better tools, both hardware and software.

DH: Yes, however we see a shift in funds to a larger extent being allocated for device development.

PO: Worldwide is the key. We have been very gratified by our remarkable success recently in India, China, and other regions that a decade ago would not have figured into our business plan. Although the US remains the single largest geographic market for our products, foreign markets are adding to the growth that we are experiencing. By 2007 we expect that these foreign markets will represent an equal amount of opportunity that we currently find here in the US.

RF: Clearly yes. Interest is increasing every year.

SB: Yes, we see continued growth in funding for nanotechnology.

RS: Yes.

Do you see the market flattening once these labs are fully equipped?

VP: No. This question is very much akin to the one above. I see the demand curve rising for tools to respond to the growing knowledge base in nanotechnology, and emphatically so as market forces create demand for its products.

DH: NIL is a generic capability which all labs in the end will require, so far the total installation base consists of some 100 NIL systems which clearly shows that the market is far from saturated.

LD: We expect that new capability of the Angstrovision tools will force retooling of laboratories worldwide before Angstrovision technology will enter manufacturing processes.

PO: In recalling a comment attributed to one of the founders of Tencor Instruments, who is reported to have said, "the market for stylus profilers has peaked and will begin to decline by 1985." He was wrong. Technology is a funny thing. Ingenious people continue to find ingenious ways to apply it. So, although I don't forecast 20% CAGR ad infinitum, I do expect the need for these instruments to continue to expand.

RF: No. New developments are continuously moving to the market, allowing new capabilities for SPM users.

SB: Not in the near future, there should be significant growth in the future.

RS: No.

Please comment on whether you see new tool development as enabling you to continue your growth path.

VP: We are a customer centric company. By that I mean we respond to our customers, and try to stay ahead of their requirements. The introduction of new tools and developments across the nanotechnology spectrum enable our customers to reach greater heights of nanotechnology and specifically nanodevice developments. These achievements in our customer base continue to place a demand on us for better and better tools to meet our customer's requirements, and equally important to reach new markets and to continue to compete profitably in our market space.

DH: There is definetly a need for further development of the product platforms and also a adoptation to different application areas for our base technologies.

LD: After one year of testing first generation tools, Angstrovision is planning to start development of the next generation tools. The next generation will have higher resolution and variable higher speed of image acquisition; they also will have a set of custom application software tools. The price for a new generation tools is expected to be between $500,000 and 800,000.

PO: Absolutely! We will continue to maintain our relationships with academia and industry, so that as new and exciting technologies emerge, we will be there to help commercialize them. In our business, rapid growth with our existing products is limited. So, we grow rapidly by bringing additional products to market. In our case this is typically done through relationships with others - like academicians or industrial researchers.

RF: Of course. Nanotec Electronica devotes a huge percentage of its income to continue improving our products every day.

SB: Yes, we believe new generations of AFM’s will be developed.

Second set (aggregated responses - not attributed to the companies):

What are your near-term expectations regarding sales of your tools? (In terms of dollars, and in next 3 years)

We expect company revenue will reach $100 million in five years.

Our sales grew 92% last year. We expect our sales to grow 72% this year over 2004, 43% in 2006 over 2005, and 52% in 2007 over 2006.

We believe we will see a minimum of 20% annual growth


What types of tools do you expect to sell the most of in the next 3 years, and to what types of business?

We'll continue to focus on surface analysis and visualizations instruments sold primarily to our existing markets/customers.

Since we are at the beginning of this technological development curve, we are expecting continuous improvement of our technology and tools, which in return will create new market demands.

We will continue on our business plan path, to improve our brand, and to provide the nanodevice researcher and developer the tools to achieve early and profitable commercialization of his or her concepts.


Can you talk about new tools you will be bringing to market in the near future? What types of demand will they service?

Lower cost items, more offshore content.

We believe new developments will continue to service research but will also start to find uses in industry.

Advances in Scanning Probe Microscopy will allow experiments that were not possible before, giving scientists the best chance to get new results.

It is hard to predict potential applications of this technology, but by all indications it will be the primary enabling technology where metrologically accurate three-dimensional information with nano or even Angstrom resolution is required, non-destructively, and in real time.

We will be looking at incorporating risk management (technological as well as investment), environmental, health and safety, and fabrication and production simulation and analysis into our tools offerings. These tools will satisfy the demand for sophisticated software to offset physical trial and error experiments which will prove to be too costly from a risk/benefit standpoint until such time as testing trials can be prudently and safely achieved.

In what areas are you projecting growth in the next 3 years?

The most exciting developments in the nanotechnology phenomena will be in the areas of medicine and pharmacology. The achievement of successes in nano-medicine and nano-pharmacology will require the entire spectrum of nanoscale interdisciplinary sciences. These will truly be "collaborative" efforts.

The integration or convergence and subsequent "emergence" of nanodevices for the good of mankind, in nanomedicine and pharmacology, is clearly the most exciting. Other more near term applications are also worthy of investment, but in my opinion none more so than those which can make the human experience healthier and disease free.

All applications of Scanning Probe Microscopy.

Sourcing from and selling to Far East.

This section gives details on the businesses that responded to the Survey

Vic Peña, nanoTITAN
Vic Peña, CEO nanoTITAN.

nanoTITAN was incorporated on January 19th, 2001—at the dawn of the new millenium— in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our mission is to be the premier provider of software, information and services to the nanotechnology community and to assume a central role in the evolution of nanotechnology from basic research to profitable application: "Enabling the Diamond Age."

Our philosophy is one of incremental growth in capability—"three yards and a cloud of dust," if you will. Although we intend to use the Internet to great advantage, we are decidedly NOT a "dot-com" that's built more on hype than substance. We are built to last, modestly funded by founders with a business plan for steady, sustainable growth. We will earn your business through the quality, breadth and uniqueness of our offerings.

nanoTITAN is a privately held corporation with offices in the Northern Virginia area.

Dag Henrikz, Area Manager Obducat.

Obducat develops and supplies technologies and processes for production and analysis of micro and nano structures and provides solutions to companies working with information storage, semiconductors, printed circuit boards, and sensors.

Obducat's technologies include equipment for nano imprint lithography, electron beam lithography, and electron beam microscopy, as well as patented process know-how available for licensing.

Obducat has offices in Sweden and the UK with headquarters in Malmö, Sweden. The Obducat share is traded on the Swedish NGM (Nordic Growth Market) list. Visit for more information.

Dr. Lev Dulman, CEO AngstroVision.

AngstroVision is an early stage precision imaging Instruments Company with a breakthrough imaging and metrology technology aimed at nano-scale imaging problems. Our mission is to be the leader in providing superior nano-imaging solutions for industrial metrology and characterization, focusing initially on real time inspection of silicon devices and wafers, on line and off-line

AngstroVision, Inc. has developed a fundamentally new patent-pending technology that for the first time allows the real-time acquisition of high-resolution 3-D video images at the nano-scale. The data gathered is metrologically accurate, and can be acquired non-destructively in a wide range of environments without requiring any preparation of samples.

Patrick O'Hara, Ambios Technology
Patrick O'Hara, President & CEO Ambios Technology.

Since the founding of the company in 1996, our mission and principal goal has been to provide industrial and academic researchers with affordable world-class surface analysis instrumentation. Our years of experience in virtually every aspect of surface measurement provides Ambios Technology with a unique perspective from which to evaluate customer needs and provide appropriate solutions.

Starting with our high resolution XP Series Surface Profilers, we are committed to bringing together a synergistic set of equipment to meet the needs of our customers. Whether through our own engineering and development efforts, or in conjunction with technology partners from around the world, Ambios Technology is becoming a leading supplier of surface analysis and measurement instrumentation.

Rafael Fernandez, General Manager Nanotec Electronica.

Nanotec Electrónica is a company devoted to the design, construction and development of Scanning Probe Microscopes and related devices. It is well known that nanotechnology is currently one of the most promising fields in technology. For both fundamental and technological reasons, nanoscience will be the cornerstone of research in coming years. Scanning Probe Microscopes are the main tool used to explore the wonderful nanoscopic world.

While Nanotec Electrónica is mainly oriented towards scientific market, we sustain strong connections with the industrial world. Our microscopes cover a very wide range of applications.

Sam Buffington, COO / CFO Molecular Imaging.

Molecular Imaging is the premier developer and supplier of tools for Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM)-including systems, accessories, software and data management -for imaging under controlled temperature and environmental conditions.

We are focused on creating innovative new products and techniques for our customers that will enable new application areas for SPM and AFM in academic and industrial research.

Richard Stein, President Cooke Vacuum Products.

Cooke Vacuum designs and manufactures a wide range of standard and custom high and ultrahigh vacuum systems intended for research and production. With four decades of experience, and thousands of units in the field, COOKE VACUUM has come to symbolize economy and versatility.

Recently, our customers have used Cooke equipment for nanotubes, superconducting materials, OLED fabrication, quantum dots, narrow line deposition, trench structures, holographic foils as well as more established purposes in silicon and III-V devices, optics and energy coatings.


Nanotechnology tools and instruments are the hardware, software, and supplies used to measure and manipulate structures on the nanoscale. They include microscopes, probes, lithography systems, manipulation and fabrication systems, software, and other accessories.

Rarely are these instruments unique to nanotechnologies. Most of them were developed in other industries, especially in semiconductor and chipmaking, where sub-micron manufacturing principles have fueled the communications explosion. Chemistry, physics, biology, and materials science have also had a significant impact, and it is in this interdisciplinarity that nanotechnology is unique. Tools and Instrumentation for Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology would not be possible without the latest in high-tech wizardry dreamt up by visionaries around the world. Most new tools used in nanotechnology were originally fueled by the extreme pace of microchip and miniaturized device manufacturing that dominates the electronics industry.

Over the years, old tools were adapted for new uses, and in a few rare examples, entirely new tools were created to investigate new phenomena in the nanoscopic world. link

Tools developed through nanotechnology may be able to detect disease in a very small amount of cells or tissue. They may also be able to enter and monitor cells within a living body. Miniaturization will allow the tools for many different tests to be situated together on the same small device.

This means that nanotechnology could make it possible to run many diagnostic tests simultaneously as well as with more sensitivity. In general, nanotechnology may offer a faster and more efficient means for scientists to do much of what they do now. Nanotechnology and Cancer

Nano is the Greek word for small. The standard unit of measure for nanotechnologists is the nanometer which is 10E-9 meters or .000000001 meters. Nanotechnology as an industry is elusive to define. I think of nanotechnology as visualization, manipulation, design and manufacture on the atomic and molecular scale. Nanotechnology, in a sense, has always existed; living organisms manufacture chemical compounds on the molecular level as the basic processes of life and all compounds and substances are by nature constructed of atoms and molecules.

What is different today, and warrants the description of an industry called ‘Nanotechnology’, is the development of a set of tools and techniques which actually allow the direct design, visualization, manipulation and manufacture of products on the atomic and molecular scale. Why nanotechnology is not another dot com scenario.

It is not possible to “see” the atomic world in the normal sense of the word, because its features are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. But back in 1981, researchers at IBM designed a probe called the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM), named after a quantum-mechanical effect it employs. Rather like the stylus on an old-fashioned record player, it could trace the bumps and grooves of the nanoscale world. This allowed scientists to “see” atoms and molecules for the first time. It revealed landscapes as beautiful and complex as the ridges, troughs and valleys of a Peruvian mountainside, but at the almost unimaginably small nanometre (nm) scale. Small wonders

Nanotechnology today is an emerging set of tools, techniques and unique applications involving the structure and composition of materials on a nanoscale. IBM is one of the true pioneers in nanotechnology. Among IBM's many nanotechnology milestones, its scientists have invented the scanning tunneling microscope (STM) capable of imaging individual atoms, they have positioned atoms one-by-one for the first time, and incorporated sub-nanometer material layers into commercially mass-produced hard disk drive recording heads and magnetic disk coatings. What is Nanotechnology

At present, atomic force microscopes and other professional nanotechnology tools are still expensive equipment sold individually to scientific laboratories and industry. The cost of hardware for most MNT-related tools is still well out of the hobbyist range. However, hobbyist type access to tools may be available to graduate students and those who have access to atomic force microscopes and other equipment as part of their studies and work. Potentially, this could offer parallels to the roots of BSD Unix, Emacs and other free software in university and corporate mainframe computers and workstations. Dependence on relatively expensive equipment is not a prohibitive barrier to the development of an open source community, though expanded access would create more favorable conditions. Open Sourcing Nanotechnology Research and Development: Issues and Opportunities

Companies that are the ‘picks and shovels’ – providing the enabling tools for emerging applications – are ramping revenues as tools lead the way for the rest of the industry. Companies like Molecular Imprints, who sell a nano-imprint tool for patterning on a substrate (for example, to make computer chips at the sub-100 nanometer level), or Imago, with their 3-dimensional atomic probe, are building significant businesses as their tools catalyze an industry. Nanotech 2005: Opportunities and Trends By: Jennifer Fonstad, DFJ Managing Director

From Our Molecular Future: How Nanotechnology, Robotics, Genetics, and Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Our World, by Douglas Mulhall:

  • What happens to the monetary system when everyone is able to satisfy his own basic material needs at very low cost?
  • How would we use cash when digital manufacturing makes it impossible to differentiate a counterfeit bill or coin from the real thing?
  • What happens to fiscal policy when digital information, moving at light speed, is the major commodity?
  • How fast will monetary cycles move compared to, say, the ten- or twenty-year cycles of the late twentieth century, when products and patents go out of date in a matter of months instead of years?
  • What happens when we don't have to worry about trade or social services for our basic needs, because most of what we need is provided locally with digital manufacturing, and the biggest trade is in information?
  • How do we control the excesses of the ultrarich, the overabundance of the molecular assembler economy, and the challenge to intellectual property laws created by intelligent, inventive machines?
  • What happens if half of all jobs are made redundant every decade?
  • What happens to the War on Drugs when there's no import, export, or transport of contraband because drugs can be manufactured in a desktop machine using pirated software downloaded from the Internet?
  • What happens to democratic controls when individuals can get as rich as small governments in a year or so?
  • What's the relevance of insurance if many things are replaceable at very low capital cost, but liabilities from software are potentially unlimited?
  • How should organized labor react when molecular assemblers and intelligent robots eliminate most manufacturing jobs?
  • What is the nature of work going to be?
  • What happens to land prices when an individual can build a tropical farm under a bubble in North Dakota, and get there from New York in an hour?
  • What happens when everyone can go everywhere, whenever they want, and work from wherever they want?

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Nanotechnology Tool Makers & Service Providers Directory

NNIN Process and Characterization Tools



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Issue #24 will cover Investing In Nanotechnology. It will land in your mailbox June 6th, 2005.

Infamous Quotes:

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." Western Union internal memo, 1876
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Physicist and mathematician Lord Kelvin, President of the British Royal Society, 1895
"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899
"There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom." - Robert Milikan, Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1923
"Theoretically, television may be feasible, but I consider it an impossibility-a development which we should waste little time dreaming about." - Lee de Forest, inventor of the cathode ray tube, 1926
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." IBM's Thomas Watson, 1943
"Landing and moving around on the moon offer so many serious problems for human beings that it may take science another 200 years to lick them." - Science Digest, August 1948
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." Popular Mechanics, 1949
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." Ken Olsen, Digital Equipment Corp, 1977

And the lesson is? It's a tough game to call.

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