Nanotechnology promises devices that are small, fast, and inexpensive. These devices are poised to enable a range of innovative products, transforming industries from medicine to transportation. It is in electronic markets, however, that nanotechnology is likely to have the most significant and most immediate impact.
"The future of electronics is nanosized," says Technical Insights Analyst Satish P. Nair. "Exciting nanofabrication techniques have unfolded different methods to engineer nanowires, quantum wells, and nanotubes which function as the building blocks of future nanoelectronic devices."
Rapid progress in carbon nanotube and semiconductor nanowire has provided researchers with a model against which to gauge future nanoscale devices and systems.
The emergence of molecular electronics and spintronics is providing a challenge to traditional electronic manufacturing techniques. Significant reduction in size and the sheer enormity of numbers in manufacturing are the benefits of molecular electronics.
Scientists predict that computers will be assembled using molecules in the future, pushing technology far beyond the limits of silicon.
Adds Nair, "Molecular electronics can create devices that could be a thousand times smaller than current semiconductor-based devices. Molecular memories will also have a storage density million times that of today's best semiconductor chips."
Dramatic breakthroughs in molecular electronics by industry giant Hewlett Packard (HP) and other major developers validate these predictions. HP has created a new kind of minute circuit for computer chips using nanotechnology. The company's research laboratory also announced the development of the highest density electronically addressable memory to date.
Nair notes, "Research indicates that the time-to-market for commercial applications of nanoelectronic-based devices is shrinking with the years. It is predicted that within the next five years, we will probably witness the first complete nanoelectronic-based device in the market."
Research and development in nanoelectronics has been fuelled by huge investments by various national governments. Countries in Europe and Asia, notably Japan and China, are expecting to ride the nanowagon in a big way.
However, the market is not entirely without challenges. Highly technical and skilled labour is a necessity, and it is imperative that a new entrant has sound manufacturing capabilities.
As the industry evolves, there is bound to be a certain degree of uncertainty. However, unparalleled benefits accompany the first-mover advantage. Late entrants will require lengthy time frames to catch up with technology leaders, leaving the latter to profit from lucrative nanotechnology applications.
Technical Insights by Frost & Sullivan
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Rice Develops Nanosensor For Precision Chemical Analysis
Houston - Jan 13, 2003
Nanotechnology researchers at Rice University have demonstrated the ability to precisely control the electromagnetic field around nanoparticles, opening the door for chemical screening techniques that could allow doctors, life scientists and chemists to routinely analyze samples as small as a single molecule.
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