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Nanotechnology and the future of invention

Nanotechnology future

by Fadi Eid

Nanotechnology promises enormous opportunities for scientific development, and it looks set to make a breakthrough in the near future. Over the next ten years, many new materials, applications, and services that are currently under development should become ready for the market, and they will revolutionize our everyday lives. Nanotechnology offers a number of promising approaches for solving crucial problems facing modern society, such as protecting the environment. Credit Suisse has been focusing on nanotechnology for many years, enabling investors to participate in the future growth of this technology through innovative investment products.

Nanotechnology has attracted increasing public attention in recent years. In part because the first concrete applications are now available, it is no longer shrouded in mystery. Nanotechnology makes it possible to join individual atoms and molecules together in order to create products with customized properties. Innovations in nanotechnology are turning the world of classical physics on its head. Previously unimaginable products are suddenly becoming possible, such as materials that are made of familiar substances, but are more durable and lighter.

Early applications include cold-resistant, waterproof clothing, graffiti-resistant wall coatings, dirt-repellent automobile bodies, wafer-thin OLED television screens, and transparent solar collectors. There will be other applications and services in the near future, and they too will experience rapid commercial development. Nanotechnology offers a number of promising approaches for solving some of modern society’s greatest problems.

Great strides have been made in energy efficiency in recent decades. Yet, the capacity of batteries and solar cells remains one of the main obstacles to numerous applications. Nanotechnology plays an important role in alternative energy, as the example of solar cells demonstrates. Until now, government incentives have been a key factor in the demand for solar cells, because production costs continue to be significantly higher than for electricity from conventional sources of energy. Nanotechnology optimizes solar cell technology by making it more efficient and reducing the costs of raw materials. According to industry representatives, these new approaches could ultimately lower the price of solar energy to less than 5 cents per kWh, which would further spread the use of this energy source.

In an era of mobility, there is constant pressure to improve the performance of conventional batteries, especially for portable devices. Nanotechnology could revolutionize battery capacity, making it possible to produce lightweight batteries with previously unattainable levels of energy. Such batteries would last longer, weigh less, and take less time to charge. This technological progress, made possible by nanotechnology, is expected to have a positive impact on the market for hybrid and electrical vehicles (HEV), reducing the strain on the environment.

As the key technology of the 21st century, nanotechnology promises enormous development opportunities. According to estimates by Lux Research and Credit Suisse, the nanotechnology sector is growing by 25 to 30% annually, with total market volume set to break the $220 billion mark by 2010. Credit Suisse recognized the potential of this key technology early on and made a commitment to it. The bank has been working with nanotechnology intensively since 2002, developing ideas to harness the opportunities of nanotechnology for investors. Its objective is to bring together and promote the needs and ideas of investors and scientists, so that both groups can benefit. That’s why Credit Suisse has been systematically developing its network within the global nanotech community over the years.

Fady Eid is the general manager of Credit Suisse Lebanon.

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