This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Nanotech: Huge Focus on a Small Science

Last year, companies and governments invested $8.6 billion in nanotechnology research and development, up 10% from 2003, according to Lux Research, one of the most respected research firms to rise up around nanotech. Companies such as IBM (IBM), Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), General Electric (GE), NEC (NIPNY) and BASF (BF) are among the cutting-edge researchers in the field, although nanotech involves only a sliver of their operations today.

Some 20,000 people around the world are working in nanotechnology, a figure that the National Science Foundation expects to rise tenfold in 15 years. Forecasts for the nanotech market range all over the spectrum, but the most commonly cited is the NSF's figure of $1 trillion within the next decade.

So the interest in and commitment to nanotechnology are widespread, but beyond that, the uncertainty begins. Experts talk about the potential breakthroughs -- the ability to deliver life-saving drug proteins that the human body has so far resisted, batteries to power laptops and devices with memory chips that are many times tinier and more powerful than anything available today, elevators stretching into outer space. But no one can tell you when, or who will make them.

"There will be new companies formed that will create a phenomenal amount of value because of the revolutions they're creating," says Warren Packard, a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which has been actively investing in nanotechnology startups. "At the same time, there will be many, many companies that won't make it. The fundamentals of investing and of analyzing a company's prospects don't change. Just because someone calls itself nanotechnology, that could mean nothing for its prospects."

In the same way that desperate companies such as Zapata, a Texas fish-oil company, or K-Tel, a third-rate record label, tried to reinvent themselves as Internet stars in the mid-'90s, drawing the inevitable flurry of speculative trading, many companies will don a "nanotechnology" sash without necessarily having more to do with nanotechnology beyond the fact that they're housed in buildings composed of atoms.

2 of 4

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 16,411.88 +12.21 0.07%
S&P 500 1,904.01 +17.25 0.91%
NASDAQ 4,316.0740 +57.6360 1.35%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs