Nanosensor market to reach $17.2 billion by 2012, study says

Sterling (VA) - Market research firm NanoMarkets expects revenues of sensors designed for and built using nanotechnology to dramatically increase over the next six years. Driving forces of the increasing market will be "unique features" the technology delivers for virtually every major IT application.

Nanosensor arrays are already under development by giant firms such as Dow Corning, Samsung, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, IBM, Motorola, and Agilent as well as by start-ups such as Nanomix and Ambri, analysts from NanoMarkets said. The firm believes that nanosensors will have a significant impact in many fields, especially in medicine and healthcare, military and homeland defense, industrial control and robotics, networking and communications, and environmental monitoring.

NanoMarkets believes that the market opportunities for nanosensors will stem, in large part, from unique features that surpass competing technologies. In areas such as biomedicine and homeland security, for example, nanosensors' ability to detect at the molecular or even atomic level would be "critical", the firm said.

Nanosensors for military and homeland defense applications, where they may be used for example to detect the presence of biotoxins, such as anthrax and smallpox, are estimated to reach $827 million in 2008 and grow to $3.9 billion in 2012. The overall Nanosensor market is projected to reach $2.7 billion in 2008 and climb to $17.2 billion in 2012.

The new NanoMarkets report also predicts that nanotechnology will lead to a reduction in the cost of individual sensors.