Opportunities in Nanostructures Materials: Eelctronic, Magentic and Optoelectronic

Published - May 2001| Analyst - Mindy Rittner| Code - NAN017A
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Report Highlights

  • The world market for nanoparticulate materials in electronic, magnetic and optoelectronic applications reached $333 million in 2000.
  • Growing at an average annual rate (AAGR) of 14.9%, this market is expected to reach $667 million in 2005.
  • Growth will be spurred by the already-substantial CMP market, as well as the emergence of several on-the-verge applications.
  • Although simple oxides such as silica and alumina will account for the majority of the market, complex oxides are expected to increase their market share.
  • Demand for metallic nanoparticles will be strongly affected by sluggishness in the magnetic recording industry.



"Nano-," once a seldom-used prefix found in the back of scientific textbooks, has moved into the industrial mainstream. Literally, "nano" represents 0.000000001, or 10-9, an extremely small quantity with enormous implications for the miniaturization-driven technology of the twenty-first century. Within the past two decades, a variety of terms sharing the prefix "nano-," such as nanoparticle, nanomaterial, nanophase, and nanostructured, have emerged to describe certain materials, technologies, and even es; in fact, several firms listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange use the prefix "nano-" in their company names. Although nano may not yet be a household word, it is indeed well known within and increasingly vital to the advanced materials community and high-technology sector. In part due to the credibility and visibility imparted by the National Nanotechnology Initiative in early 2000, nanoterminology has become trendy, popular, and representative of all that is high-tech in the materials world.

In 1997, Communications Co. (BCC) published a seminal technical-market study of the nanomaterials field — a report that defined the scope of the industry for the first time. Since then, the industry has witnessed many changes: new entrants into the ; production scale-up efforts; new commercialization strategies; and technological advancements. In light of these developments, BCC opted to take a fresh look at the industry and reevaluate the existing and potential markets for nanoparticulate materials. The culmination of that research is a three-volume series of reports, which is without question the most comprehensive source of industry information and technical-market data on nanoparticulate materials available today.


This study fills a gap in the published literature on nanoparticles and nanostructured materials. Although numerous technical papers and overview articles address various aspects of nanomaterial technology, the literature lacks a comprehensive, up-to-date, and realistic technical-market assessment of nanomaterials over a broad range of applications. This report, GM-201A, which is part one of a three-volume series, examines in detail electronic, magnetic and optoelectronic applications for nanoparticulate materials. The primary objectives of this study are to provide technological background, detailed industry information, and market data and forecasts through 2005, segmented by application and material type.


This report is a valuable resource for companies and organizations that are:

  • involved in the commercialization of nanoparticulate materials and looking for new market opportunities;
  • interested in incorporating nanoparticles into new or existing products as an end user;
  • involved in nanomaterial research and development;
  • in search of licensing opportunities for their nanoparticle synthesis or processing technologies;
  • seeking partners for their commercialization efforts; and
  • looking for venture capital investment opportunities.


Defined broadly, the term "nanostructured" is used to describe materials characterized by structural features of less than 100 nm in average size. All of the materials discussed in this report are inorganic particulate materials of submicron or nanoscale crystallite sizes. Nanoparticulate ceramics, metals, alloys, and semiconductors in the form of dry powders, liquid dispersions, coatings, and bulk materials are considered. Carbon black powders, fullerenes and nanotubes are beyond the scope of this study, as are polymeric nanoparticles. Nanotechnology, the building of components atom by atom, and micromachines are not covered here.

The report begins with an Overview chapter that describes the various types and forms of nanostructured materials and their properties, and the surprisingly extensive history of the industry is detailed in a timeline. The Technology chapter presents an overview of vapor phase, wet chemical, and solid-state techniques in producing nanostructured particles, as well as dispersion, coating, compaction, and self-assembly technologies. Major researchers and institutions involved in nanoparticle studies are identified, and the chapter concludes with an analysis of nanomaterials-related U.S. patents issued during the past 2 years.

The Industry Structure chapter presents a who's-who of the nanomaterials industry. Major and minor companies from the U.S. and around the world are identified and profiled, and nanoparticulate products, pricing, commercialization strategies and competition are discussed. The chapter concludes with the identification of industrial recipients of nanomaterials-related government funding awards during the past decade and a detailed collection of company profiles.

In the World Markets chapter, current and emerging electronic, magnetic, and optoelectronic applications for nanoparticles are identified and analyzed. Within each application area, technological requirements, relevant production technology, companies involved and the commercial status are discussed. Finally, world markets for nanoparticles are presented as a function of application and material type for 2000 and 2005.

Appendices provide listings of contact information for all of the industry participants, as well as detailed timelines of industry events (including company foundings, moves, expansions, acquisitions and collaborations), relevant U.S. patent data, and government funding awards.


The data in this report were obtained from both primary and secondary sources. Executives, engineers, managers, researchers, and salespeople from companies and research institutions involved in the development, production, and/or usage of nanostructured materials were interviewed in the course of this study. Other data were obtained from an exhaustive review of patent literature and government databases, as well as scientific, trade, and journals. BCC newsletters, reports, and conferences provided additional information.


Mindy N. Rittner, Ph.D., the author of this report, has been studying nanoparticulate materials for nearly a decade, initially as a materials researcher and more recently as a market analyst. In addition to nanomaterials, Rittner follows other growing segments of the materials industry, including metal matrix composites, powder metallurgy, and sputtering target materials. She is the founder and editor of BCC's monthly newsletter, Nanoparticle News, and the program chairwoman of BCC's annual nanopowder conference. Rittner earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Materials Science at Northwestern University.


  • GB-201RB  Opportunities in Nanostructured Materials: Biomedical, Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Applications
  • GB-201RC  Opportunities in Nanostructured Materials: Energy, Catalysis and Structural Applications
  • GB-102N  Advanced Ceramic Powders and Nanoceramic Powders — Materials, Synthesis, New Developments, Applications, Industry Structure and Markets
  • GB-108R  Sol Gel Processing of Ceramics and Glasses: Technology, New Developments, Industry Structure and Markets
  • P-234  Polymer Nanocomposites
  • GB-245  Nanotubes: Directions and Technologies

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