According to a recent analysis by Consulting Resources Corp. (Lexington, Mass.), a leading consulting firm specializing in chemicals, biotechnology and nanotechnology, sales in the emerging U.S. nanotechnology business will grow dramatically from a base level of $200 million in 2002 to an impressive $25 billion by 2012.
"We are at a very exciting stage of the nanotech industry's development," says Roger Shamel, president of Consulting Resources. "Nanotechnology is following a very similar path to that of biotechnology after DNA was first successfully spliced. Many prudent companies are beginning to notice the impressive rate at which nanotechnology is progressing."
Much of the near-term growth will come from the area of nanocomposites, where companies such as Nanocor (Arlington Heights, Ill.) are working to produce substances that represent significant improvements over traditional fillers. These products offer physical enhancements such as increased strength and heat resistance, without many of the negative effects that would otherwise be expected. For example, because of their extremely small particle size, many nanocomponents can be added in greater concentrations than traditional materials without adversely affecting a substance's various optical properties, such as transparency. This makes nanocomposites a prime candidate for use in a variety of consumer products, such as cars, where aesthetics are of great importance.
"So, what does all this have to do with adhesives?" you ask. In a clich¿it's our chance to hitch our wagon to a star.
According to Christopher Christuk, Transene Co. (Danvers, Mass.), in his article on page 40, economics and consumer demands will continue to push electronic devices to smaller sizes until the term microelectronics is replaced by nanoelectronics. In order to support this broad change in manufacturing, suppliers of supporting materials such as electrically conductive adhesives must continually determine and meet the changing demands of the state of the art.
Christuk says that as electronics are reduced in size, conductive adhesives must parallel this trend toward the small. New work in nanotechnology is a sign of the ultimate goal of electronics manufacturers, namely to produce atomic-scale electrical components.
At the RadTech 2002 Conference next month, nanotechnology will command a full session at this cutting-edge biennial event. (See pg. 10.) According to Mike Idacavage of UCB Chemicals and chair of the RadTech technical sessions, "This new thrust into nanotechnology gives the event, and our industry, a potential quantum step further ahead on the technology curve. The implications of nanotechnology for the UV and EB industries are enormous, as they provide the potential to achieve dramatic developments in the final performance properties for a wide range of end-use applications."
Consulting Resources Corp. is an international management-consulting firm that provides professional services to executives concerned with change and opportunity. Further information may be obtained by contacting Consulting Resources Corp., Six Northbrook Park, Lexington, MA 02420; telephone 781-863-1222; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.