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03/01/2008







Besides the obvious bonus in this issue—inclusion of the annual Small Tech Business Directory—this issue features another one: For the first time, Small Times is supplementing its standard print features with “Web exclusive feature articles” available only online. While Small Times has historically had a robust Website (www.smalltimes.com)—with news updated daily as well as our Small Times Direct newsletter—this is a first for in-depth feature material. Please see the URLs on our Table of Contents (p. 1), and look for more feature articles—and other exclusive content—on the Small Times’ site in the future.

Speaking of Small Times Direct, I’m always grateful to hear from readers. Tom Winter of Texas Instruments’ DLP FP Product Engineering group responded to my commentary on display advances, which mainly focused (as does this issue’s flexible and printed electronics feature, p. 13) on flexible technologies. “I’m always surprised when I see the words ‘MEMS’ and ‘display applications’ together, and don’t see any reference to DLP’s DMD chip [up to 2 million mirrors, 50% projector market share, 100% digital cinema market share, etc.—far and away the most complex and most successful MEMS device in history]. Is it because the technology is so successful that it’s fully mainstream, and thus technologically uninteresting? And, also, a captive market produced by only one company?”

Excellent points, and I’m sure the flexible display innovators would love to replicate the success of TI’s DLP, which deserves celebration. But as Tom Cheyney’s feature reveals, the “flexible” folks have a number of hurdles to leap on the way to market.

In another recent issue of Small Times Direct I’d written that Sustainable Titania Technology’s new chemical solution for coating solar cells “improves their ability to convert sunlight by 100%”—and Dr. Philip Lippel, Policy Analyst for the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, wrote to tell the real story. “What they claim is a 100% increase in the [small-but-significant] increase you get from a structured coating,” he said. “That’d probably work out to a 15% or 20% increase in actual efficiency for a typical commercial photovoltaic cell.” Indeed!

We’ve received numerous comments, too, about the redesign that debuted last issue. Dr. George Riley of FlipChips.com wrote to say, “Congratulations and thank you for the intelligent redesign of Small Times. As one who reads Small Times primarily for technical content, I’m happy to find it now more technically informative and much easier to navigate.” And Craig Lazinsky of Parker-Hannifin noted that he is “impressed with the condensed, easy-to-read format and technical content.”

Rich Allen started his note saying, “The feature that lists the companies mentioned in the corresponding article is useful.” He went on to relate how he is working with his 18-year-old son, who just opened a Scottrade account, to find nano and biotech stocks—the sole focus of the account. “It would be great to have, say, a recommended publicly traded nanotech stock highlighted,” said Rich.

I directed him to Small Times’ financial page, accessible from the bottom of our homepage, at http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/smalltimes.

But other than Rich’s small wish, I’ve had no requests and no complaints—only kudos. This is wonderful, but leaves me hoping for more input to better serve your needs. So c’mon small-tech innovators; let me know what else you want from Small Times—and we’ll do our best to deliver. Meanwhile, enjoy this issue—including the newest edition of the Small Tech Business Directory, which has been updated this year with many more categories and helpful descriptions to assist you in finding suppliers and partners.

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Barbara G. Goode is editor-in-chief of Small Times. She can be reached at barbarag@pennwell.com.