Bridging the Commercial Chasm in Nanotech

Share Article

Nanomaterial Supply Chain Matures, Niche Producers Struggle While Seeking Out Multiple Product Applications.

The ability to buy large quantities of well-characterized nanomaterials is transforming the development of nanotechnology applications, leading to a 20-30% CAGR for nanomaterials over the next five years.

The latest edition of London-based research and consulting company Cientifica’s ( Nanotechnology Opportunity Report highlights the advances in production and characterization technologies that are only now enabling the uptake of nanomaterials on a large scale.

The combination of ten years of nanoscience funding combined with the lessons learned from a host of small nanomaterials companies struggling to make ends meet in the materials sector has paved the way for industrial use of nanomaterials.

Tim Harper, CEO of Cientifica, explains, “Ten years ago nanoscience was in its infancy and we were only just beginning to understand how to work on the nanoscale. Five years ago if you wanted nanomaterials you would have to deal with a few guys in a garage. There was no guarantee that you could buy the same materials next week or even next year, and batch-to-batch variations were so great as to preclude the use of nanomaterials in an industrial setting.”

According to the Nanotechnology Opportunity Report (NOR) 3rd Edition, these product inconsistencies meant that there was little chance of producers breaking out of niche markets. The NOR analysis reveals that without robust supply chains commercial applications lagged, and promises of a trillion-dollar market seemed wishful thinking.

However, the NOR points out one of the crucial changes has been the maturing of these supply chains, and the ability, as a result of ten years of government nanoscience funding, to quickly scale up production which together have increased end users’ confidence.

Nonetheless the challenge of scaling up production while simultaneously keeping costs low and quality high has led many smaller companies to cast desperately around for alternative business models. This is something that can rarely be achieved with the resources and the expertise of a small university spin out company without recourse to more experienced partners.

As a result, many companies that were developed around a single class of nanomaterial have been forced from their technology push-driven business models to becoming competitors in market sectors as varied as computer memory, textiles, water treatment and biomedicine, and as a result many former hot-shot start ups are now struggling.

Unable to compete with the large chemical companies as suppliers of nanomaterials to end users, many smaller, niche producers have turned to either becoming fully integrated producers of nano-enabled products, established partnerships with companies with access to end user markets, or are have hoisted a ‘For Sale’ sign outside their business.

To learn more about these developments and trends, please visit

About Cientifica:
Cientifica is the world's leading independent supplier of nanotechnology research and technology information, with activities spanning from basic research to consultancy, business intelligence and investments.


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Tim Harper
Cientifica Ltd
+44 07894 708989
Email >
Visit website