Forward-looking, tech-savvy investors knew a while back that 3-D printing was going to be a Big Deal. (Those farsighted speculators have already made handsome returns with companies like 3-D Systems and Stratasys.) The technology is still in its infancy, though — about where personal computing was in 1980 or so — and its truly transformative effect (which is coming, believe me) has yet to make itself felt.
So: what’s next? I’m better-connected than most folks when it comes to emerging technologies, and in my opinion, the best candidate is a simple material with astonishing properties. It’s called “graphene”, and it is a one-atom-thick layer of carbon in a hexagonal lattice. It’s been under most people’s radar so far: I’ve mentioned graphene to several big-shot money managers in the past few months, and not one of them had even heard of it.
Graphene is the strongest substance known — hundreds of time stronger than steel — and has fantastic electrical and chemical properties. It seems that the people studying the stuff are turning up new, and potentially revolutionary, applications almost daily. (Here’s today’s, from the latest Graphene World Today newsletter.)
If you’d like to learn more about graphene, have a look here.