How to Invest in Graphene, Silicon 2.0Companies / Technology Feb 20, 2013 - 04:34 PM GMT
G.S. Early writes: When people ask how to invest in graphene, I think of a recent History Channel series called "The Men Who Built America."
It isn't about financial tricks, dark pool trading, mergers and acquisitions, derivatives and securities bundling. It's about a time when real things were built by real people.
It's one of the reasons I'm excited about graphene. It's about time that we started to invest in real things again.
Graphene is literally the kind of game-changer that will separate the walkers from the talkers and reshape all of our industrial and commercial production possibilities.
That's why this modest carbon derivative-akin to atomic scale chicken wire-- has set the world's research community on fire.
Graphene Is Silicon 2.0
In fact, if you thought silicon changed the way you live, get ready for graphene.
It's 200 times stronger than steel and more robust than a diamond.
What's that mean in practical terms? A researcher once put it into perspective: "It would take an elephant, balanced on a pencil," he said, "to break through a sheet of graphene the thickness of Saran Wrap."
Graphene is already at the core of simple things like graphite (think pencil lead) and charcoal but it's also the building block of fullerenes (or buckyballs), carbon nanotubes, thin film supercapacitors and superconductors.
It's a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon in a honeycomb crystal lattice.
Researchers first started to study graphene in earnest just this past decade. Since then they have found dozens of potential applications and amazing properties that have the potential to revolutionize many industries, including sensors, batteries, computing, displays, electronics, energy generation, medicine and more.
The amazing thing is, its strength isn't an impediment to its other qualities. It's also the world's thinnest material, so thin in fact that one sheet of graphene is considered a 2-dimensional object. And it is also flexible and transparent.
Plus, graphene conducts electricity more efficiently than semiconductors and conducts heat exceptionally well. It is the practical equivalent of Silicon 2.0.
And this doesn't even tap into its uses in the medical sector.
Since it's carbon-based, as are all life forms on earth, it can enter the body without disturbing the immune system, which is a boon for drug delivery. It can also help rebuild bone and create scaffolding for creating organs and tissue.
This material has so many possibilities that the European Union just granted Nokia (NYSE: NOK) a $1.35 billion grant to study the commercial applications of graphene.
That's over a $1 billion from a group of nations that are struggling get out of an economic catastrophe. If they're all collectively placing their bets on graphene, then it must be time to start looking for opportunities related to this miracle material.
Investing in Graphene Stock
So, all this talk, but is there a way to invest in graphene stock?
The direct plays are limited right now, but there is a way to profit from this coming boom related to graphene.
The big firms have their R&D departments digging into the possibilities but that's a story for another time about innovative multinationals vs. status quo multinationals.
Aside from Nokia and other indirect multinational corporate beneficiaries - although NOK may start including graphene components in its phones very soon -- there are two direct beneficiaries to keep on your radar screen.
CVD Equipment (Nasdaq: CVV) is a U.S.-based firm that specializes in chemical vapor deposition (CVD) equipment and has developed a nanotech subsidiary, First Nano. I found the stock back in my nanotech days when it was around $1 a share. Since then it's been as high as $18 and now sits around $8 a share. As the economy gets back on its feet this company will be in great demand in research and production labs around the world. This is a well-run company and holds a lot of promise.
Another provider of similar CVD and lithography equipment/services is Germany-based Aixtron (Nasdaq: AIXG). This firm was a major player in the semiconductor sector but the stock has been decimated in the past few years as capex spending has dried up, especially in Europe. Trading in the lower $40s just last year, it's now around $12 a share. This is more of a risk but if anyone can transition from the silicon age to the graphene age, this a company worth the speculation.
Another private company worth watching is Vorbeck Materials. It has a very interesting product line and is already selling various graphene products to elite military forces and has the vision and content to make a big name fast in this exploding emerging tech sector.
Editor's Note: Looking for more direct ways to invest in graphene? Executive Editor Bill Patalon just released "How to Profit from Graphene" - a report with two "must-own" stocks for people interested in graphene. The first is a materials company that's a leading global holder of graphene patents. The second is a tiny, speculative mining company trading at about $1.25 a share. "How to Profit from Graphene" is only available to subscribers of Bill's daily Private Briefing. Click here to find out how to sign up now.
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