The 2006 edition of the Nanotech Report from Lux Research was published recently. This is something I make a point to read every year, even if only a brief summary is available for free.
Some of the key findings that are noteworthy :
1) Nanotechnology R&D reached $9.6 billion in 2005, up 10% from 2004. This is unremarkable when one considers that the world economy grew 7-8% in nominal terms in 2005, but upon closer examination of the subsets of R&D, corporate R&D and venture capital grew 18% in 2005 to hit $5 billion. This means that many technologies are finally graduating from basic research laboratories and are being turned into products, and that investment in nanotechnology is now possible. This also confirms my estimation that the inflection point of commercial nanotechnology was in 2005.
2) Nanotechnology was incorporated in $30 billion of manufactured goods in 2005 (mostly escaping notice). This is projected to reach $2.6 trillion of manufactured goods by 2014, or a 64% annual growth rate. Products like inexpensive solar roof shingles, lighter yet stronger cars yielding 60 mpg, stain and crease resistant clothes, and thin high-definition displays will be common.
But a deeper concept worth internalizing is how an extension of the Impact of Computing will manifest itself. If the quality of nanotechnology per dollar increases at the same 58% annual rate as Moore's Law (a modest assumption), combining this qualitative improvement rate with a dollar growth of 64% a year yields an effective Impact of Nanotechnology of (1.58)*(1.64) = 160% per year. As the base gets larger, this will become very visible.
3) Nanotech-enabled products on the market today command a price premium of 11% over traditional equivalents, even if the nanotechnology is not directly noticed.