Big money in smaller sensors

According to a new report, sensors designed and built using nanotechnology will generate global revenues of $2.7 billion in 2008 and reach $17.2 billion in 2012.

According to Nanosensors: A market opportunity analysis, a new report from NanoMarkets, a Sterling, Virginia-based industry analyst firm, sensors designed and built using nanotechnology will generate global revenues of $2.7 billion in 2008 and reach $17.2 billion in 2012.

Nanosensor arrays are already under development by firms such as Dow Corning, Samsung, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, IBM, Motorola, and Agilent as well as by start-ups such as Nanomix and Ambri.

NanoMarkets foresees important applications for nanosensors in a wide range of applications including medicine and healthcare, military and homeland defence, industrial control and robotics, networking and communications, and environmental monitoring.

NanoMarkets believes that the market opportunities for nanosensors will stem, in large part, from unique features that surpass competing technologies.

In areas such as biomedicine and homeland security, for example, nanosensors’ ability to detect at the molecular or even atomic level is critical.Nanosensors will better detect the onset of diseases such as cancer or heart disease, and NanoMarkets expects the market for biomedical nanosensors to reach approximately $800 million in 2008 and $1.2 billion in 2012.

Nanosensors for military and homeland defence applications, where they will be used to detect the presence of biotoxins such as anthrax and smallpox, or of radioactive materials, are projected to reach $827 million in 2008 and grow to $3.9 billion in 2012.

The new NanoMarkets report also predicts that nanotechnology will lead to a radical reduction in the cost of individual sensors, which enable sensors to be used more widely in transportation. The result is greater sensor redundancy and better environmental, ergonomic and fuel-use control in both cars and planes. This will ultimately result in lowered costs and more comfort and safety for end users.

NanoMarkets expects that the aerospace segment of the nanosensors market will reach $214 million in 2008 and $2.1 billion in 2012 and that the automotive segment will grow from $133 million to $1.5 billion over the same period.

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