Big companies getting more interested in nano

Right now, 148 of the largest 1,331 companies in the world have structured nanotechnology initiatives (i.e. research projects or product development plans) for nanotechnology, but that number will double to around 290 by 2008, according to a report from Lux Research, which tracks the nano industry.

By then, corporate nanotech R&D spending will also increase to $12 billion.

Nanotechnology, the science of making products out of components measuring 100 nanometers or less, will likely have tremendous impact on medicine, electronics and material science, but over a long period of time. Thus, the field is in many ways overhyped when looked at from a short term perspective and under-hyped in the long term. To date, investors have had a tough time getting returns on nanotechnology investments.

So far, some companies have incorporated things like carbon nanotubes into tennis rackets and bike parts to increase strength and drop weight. More complex nano products, such as coatings for glass that will prevent water from sticking or nanoparticles that emanate light when near a tumor, will take longer to develop.

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    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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