NanoPundit -Where Society, Science and the Law get really, really small.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Nanometer Schmanometer

Jim Jones and Sharon Wienbar at Electronic Business Online have an interesting article about MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) and how in the rush to nano how they are being ignored. Since this is NanoPundit rather than MicroPundit, I am guilty of the same thing.

The article mentions JDS Uniphase and their difficulty with “a downturn in capital spending by telecom carriers and low MEMS product yields due to packaging challenges.” The article goes on to discuss the industry overcoming some of these problems and the MEMS market growing to $5B in 2004 with the potential to reach $10B by 2008.

What is unmentioned is the
wild ride the JDS investors took. I expect that the NanoIndustry will face similar challenges and selected stocks will go on similarly wild rides. I just hope I am smart enough to by at $2 and sell at $160 rather than the other way around.

Q: How do you become a millionaire investing in nanotechnology?
A: Start as a billionaire and . . . (BaDumBump)

MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) are complex semiconductor-like devices in which electrical circuits; mechanical structures; and other physical structures such as valves, gears, mirrors, pumps and actuators, are integrated onto a single device tailored for a specific application. Many people are now familiar with MEMS as the basic technology behind accelerometers, which control the air bags in your car. But they may not realize that half a dozen MEMS devices in a new car are monitoring and controlling the tire pressure, antitheft systems, active suspension and fuel.

Five years ago, the electronics industry was abuzz with the promise of MEMS to manipulate light in optical switches (for an earlier article on MEMS, see "
At Long Last MEMS," February 1, 2002). The hype and expectation for success in optical networking culminated in the acquisition of MEMS foundry Cronos by JDS Uniphase in 2000 for approximately $750 million. Two fundamental issues ultimately stopped this momentum: a downturn in capital spending by telecom carriers and low MEMS product yields due to packaging challenges.


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