Big business in nanotech tools

Cleveland-based Freedonia Group says the US market for nanotech tools will increase nearly 30 percent annually through 2008 to $900 million, and then triple again to $2.7 billion in 2013.

The US market for nanotech tools is projected to increase nearly 30 percent per year through 2008 to $900 million, and then triple again to $2.7 billion in 2013.

Nanotech tools represent a key segment of the emerging nanotechnology business, allowing for the visualisation, measurement, manipulation, fabrication, production, simulation and testing of matter in the 0.1-100 nanometre range.

Such tools are said to be indispensable to the large-scale commercial realisation of nanotechnology materials, devices and other products. As the focus of the nanotechnology business increasingly shifts away from basic research and toward the development of practical, commercially viable products, the demand for associated tools will be urgent. These and other trends are presented in Nanotech Tools, a new study from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based market research firm.

Historically, visualisation tools — and scanning probe microscopes in particular — have accounted for a sizeable majority of the aggregate nanotech tools market, a function of a spate of technological innovations greatly raising the utility of these devices in recent years.

In the future, measurement, fabrication/production and simulation/modelling tools are expected to register faster growth, reflecting both upgrades in the capabilities of these types of tools, and the increasingly sophisticated requirements of nanotechnology product manufacturers.

As markets for nanotechnology products steadily develop, demand for nanotech tools will shift away from basic research and toward applied research and product development activity in a number of sectors.

Industries and sectors such as electronics, especially semiconductor fabrication, and the life sciences hold particularly good prospects over the relatively short term (roughly five to ten years out).

Other potentially large-scale markets, in the industrial, aerospace/defence, motor vehicles, construction, energy generation and other sectors, are expected to develop over the longer-term.

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