2007 Nanotechnology Research Review

Published - Dec 2007| Analyst - Review | Code - NAN047A
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Report Highlights

  • An extensive patent analysis.
  • An in-depth assessment of the unfolding commercial markets.
  • Progress in the synthesis and commercial scale-up of CNTs.
  • Extended compilation of the producers and end users dictating market development.
  • A 5-year projected market analysis of the emerging CNT industry.

INTRODUCTION

MOTIVATION
 
Among the numerous categories in the evolving field of newly synthesized nanomaterials, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are perhaps among the most dynamic and undergoing the most rapid pace of development. The past 5 years have witnessed relentless growth in research, development, and technological understanding of these remarkable materials. Universities, small businesses, and start-ups, as well as large corporations have continued to probe and exploit numerous commercial possibilities. As a result, the list of product applications is expanding considerably and is projected to do so well into the future.
 
The most tangible evidence for growth and interest is reflected first by the emergence of new CNT industrial producers capable of offering CNTs in near-commercial scale quantities at more affordable unit pricing. In addition, after several years of incubation, there is a new breed of university spin-offs or nanotechnology companies targeting specific application sectors. Additional evidence of growth is the increasing presence of larger, more established corporations that recognize the future market opportunities offered by CNTs. Finally, over the past 5 years there has been phenomenal growth in patent activity. For instance, in the past 3 years the number of CNT-related issued patents has almost tripled, reaching close to 600 patents in 2006 alone. For patents pending, the situation is even more dramatic, approaching a cumulative backlog close to 4,500 patent applications.
 
In view of the technical momentum behind a growing multibillion dollar technology investment, and the enormous business potential, this report provides a timely update on carbon nanotubes—overall status of technology, and analysis of where the carbon nanotube market will be in the immediate future.
  
OBJECTIVES AND PURPOSE OF THIS REPORT
 
The primary objective of this report is threefold:
 
  • Assess the current state-of-the-art in CNT production.
  • Identify the current players seeking to exploit their unique properties.
  • Evaluate actual or impending market applications in terms of the technical readiness of CNTs and their projected market revenues.
SCOPE AND FORMAT
 
The report is divided into the five major chapters:
 
TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW defines, outlines the history, describes the production methodology, identifies the unique properties of various forms of CNTs, and emphasizes the major application challenges.
 
PATENT ANALYSIS provides an extensive search/analysis of U.S. issued and pending patents, a collation of the main technical/application sectors, and identifies the most active organizations driving CNT technology.
 
INDUSTRY STRUCTURE identifies current producers, progress in continuous production scaleup, market segmentation, and numerous profiles of the major players in the first generation market subsectors
 
MARKETS BY APPLICATION represents the body of the report assessing the latest progress and technical readiness in the major application sectors of composites, electronics, energy storage, membranes, sensors, and other applications
 
MARKET ANALYSIS identifies the most promising applications realizable within the next 5 years and estimates the potential revenues based on the their competitiveness, technical readiness and the projected market size
 
CONTRIBUTION OF THE STUDY AND TARGET AUDIENCE
 
This report represents a radical and major update to BCC Research’s report Nanotubes: Directions and Technologies, NAN024B, published in February 2003. The most significant revisions in this new edition include:
  • An extensive patent analysis.
  • An in-depth assessment of the unfolding commercial markets.
  • Progress in the synthesis and commercial scale-up of CNTs.
  • Extended compilation of the producers and end users dictating market development.
  • A 5-year projected market analysis of the emerging CNT industry.
This comprehensive technical and business assessment on the current status of the CNT industry should prove informative to nanomaterials manufacturers, investors seeking near-term commercialization opportunities, technologists confronted with nanomaterial device integration issues, and companies interested in exploiting revolutionary nanomaterials for advanced composites, biomedical, electronic, energy storage, membrane separation, sensing, and security applications.
METHODOLOGY AND SOURCES OF INFORMATION
 
This report is primarily derived from the enormous amount of patent and technical literature relating to CNTs disclosed in the public domain. In addition, complementary information has also been drawn from the business community such as company investment news, company profiles, press releases, and personal telephone interviews with selected companies.
 
AUTHOR’S CREDENTIALS
 
John Oliver, the author of this report, is the founder of Innov8 Solutions, which provides advanced materials consultation services to various clients. He has over 30 years industrial R&D experience in surface and colloid science spanning a wide range of materials technology. Primarily, working as a senior scientist at Xerox Research Centre of Canada, he developed an invaluable understanding in advanced materials used in digital printing technologies such as xerography and inkjet printing. More recently through his involvements with the Alberta Research Council and several local universities, his interests have evolved into the realm of nanomaterials and microsystems device integration. He has a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from McGill University, a BSc degree in Chemistry from Surrey University, U.K. His publications include more than 40 technical articles, 20 patents, and one technical book.
 
He is the editor of BCC’s monthly Nanoparticle News and the author of a previous BCC technical report Quantum Dots: Technical Status and Market Prospects, NAN027A.

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