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You Can be a High-Tech “Wildcatter”

11 | By Michael A. Robinson

You’ve got a rare opportunity to be a high-tech “wildcatter” – thanks to a new miracle material that is destined to revolutionize just about any industry you can think of.

Medicine and biotechnology … electronics … energy … computers … they’ll each be revolutionized by this new substance.

For instance:

Doctors will soon use it to create implants that will end brain disease…

Technologists will use it to take the power of 1,000 mainframe computers and hardwire it into your smartphone …

And biotechnologists will use this very same substance to work as “synthetic blood.”

I’m talking, of course, about graphene – a substance that I like to refer to as the “miracle material” of the 21st century.

You see, I’ve been following this exotic new substance for some time now and am struck by the high level of interest you readers have in this unique form of graphite (which, of course, is the stuff that’s in the tip of your pencil).

And these days, I get more comments and questions about graphene than I do on any other high-tech topic that I cover.

So today I’m going to tell you about two brand-new breakthroughs that will hasten graphene’s arrival as a commercially viable substance.

And I’m also going to show you how graphene can put profits right into your pocket.

Let’s start with the two breakthroughs …

The first – a recent discovery at the University of California at Los Angeles — is a double win for the new material … and for the entire electronics sector. You see, a research team there devised tiny devices that can charge and discharge power up to 1,000 times faster than standard batteries.

Because of the proliferation of batteries in portable electronics, this breakthrough could have a huge impact: It could affect everything from smartphones to cardiology pacemakers.

The technical term for this new gadget is “micro super-capacitor.” And the name says it all: The devices are small, but extremely powerful.

Capacitors have been in widespread use in electronic devices for a long time – and, in fact, have been integral to the electronics revolution. Their job is to store and release current in very controlled amounts. Without this circuit-board traffic cop, your gear would break down on a regular basis … or simply crash.

But the electrical engineers who design all this stuff haven’t been able to make the devices any smaller on a cost-effective basis because they can’t figure out how to further shrink the capacitors that have to go inside them.

But that may be about to change – thanks to graphene and an innovative new production process.

The UCLA research team used a consumer-grade DVD burner to produce these super-small super-capacitors from graphene at a fraction of the cost of standard techniques.

Team members simply glued a layer of plastic onto the surface of a DVD. Then they coated it with a layer of a substance known as graphite oxide that is used to synthesize graphene.

The new devices offer another big advantage: They’re easy to bend and twist. Ultimately, that means they could work for energy storage in flexible electronics like roll-up TV screens and e-readers.

Even “wearable” electronic devices become possible.

In the second breakthrough, a British research team says it’s found a way to overcome one of the key obstacles that right now limit graphene’s use in electronics.

I’m talking about defects.

With current methods, small flakes of graphene form in random ways. That process leaves defects, or “seams,” between flakes when they join together.

The seams prevent electrons from flowing freely in graphene, which so far has limited its use in electronics.

But a team at Oxford University devised a way to align the graphene’s carbon atoms using a cheap piece of copper foil. Team members said the copper surface’s atomic structure acts as a “guide” that controls how the carbon atoms grow on top.

“Our discovery shows that it is possible to produce large sheets of graphene where these flakes, called “domains,’ are well-aligned,” said team leader Nicole Grobert. This, she said “will create a neater, stronger, and more “electron-friendly’ material.”

What this means is that, in theory, the only thing now limiting the size of the graphene sheet that engineers will be able to create will be the size of the copper sheet itself.

This advance is “an important step towards finding a way of manufacturing graphene in a controlled fashion at an industrial scale,” Grobert said. And this “is essential if we are to bridge the gap between fundamental research and building useful graphene-based technologies.”

Once you factor in these new developments, there’s only one conclusion you can reach: Graphene is more likely than ever to become a commercially viable material that will help transform the world around us in profound ways.

And that means that we have an opportunity to invest in a product that’s going to become a ubiquitous part of our lives.

Naysayers will counter by stating that there’s currently no “pure-play” investment in graphene.

That’s true … but it doesn’t mean there aren’t any early-stage profit opportunities.

Among graphite plays, there are two true “penny stocks” that are extremely intriguing. Like all penny stocks, they’re extremely risky.

But unlike most other penny-stock ventures, these two companies appear to be very well run. If they continue along their present course, I think they’ll one day produce graphene.

Here in North America, the firm to watch is Northern Graphite Corp. (OTC: NGPHF/TSX.V: NGC).

In Europe, I like Flinders Resources Ltd. (TSX.V: FDR/ OTC: FLNXF). Flinders was founded by two of the world’s top rare-earths experts. So, they have both mining and materials down cold.

Another company to consider is GrafTech International Ltd. (NYSE: GTI). This is a hybrid firm in that it produces both natural and man-made graphite. Its roots go back 125 years when it helped Cleveland, Ohio, become the world’s first city with electric street lamps.

And this is just the start. New profit opportunities – including pure-play stocks and even ETFs – will emerge as scientists push graphene into the mainstream.

This experience is bound to be enriching … as well as exciting.

Think of yourself as a high-tech “wildcatter.” But instead of oil, we’re prospecting for profit plays in this exotic new material … graphene.

Like any wildcatter, you need to manage your capital and control your risk as much as possible … so you always have enough for the next profit play.

And you have to be vigilant, watching your current holdings carefully even as you keep scanning the horizon for new opportunities.

Here at the Strategic Tech Investor, we’ll help you do both.

[Editor’s Note: We’re grateful for the big surge in comments, postings, questions and e-mails. Please keep them coming. Many of you have also asked about subscribing. If you want to do that, it’s easy … and it’s free (not many deals like that left these days). Just drop a note to our customer-service folks at CustomerService@StrategicTechInvestor.com. Put “STI Subscription Request” in the subject line. And they’ll take care of you.]

11 Responses to You Can be a High-Tech “Wildcatter”

  1. Bill says:

    Thanks for the clarity. Been following graphene for awhile & will now look in the directions u suggest.

  2. G13man says:

    Please correct your article
    Flinders Resources Ltd =FLNXF = $ 0.60
    [not FLNDF =Flinders Mines Limited (FMS) is engaged in mineral exploration and development. FMS has exploration operations in diamonds, phosphate and two styles of iron mineralisation = $ 0.085
    NGPHF = $ 0.99
    GTI = $ 6.50

    4 ref ..stock quotes from scottrade on Tuesday 3:15 PM 3/5/13

  3. ronald blake says:

    MICHAEL

    YOU ONLY GIVE 3 PENNY STOCKS TO LOOK AT.

    I KNOW THOSE ANY WAY.

    BUT WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY ANYTHING ABOUT ZENYATTA VENTURES LTD

    THEY HAVE A RARE GRAPHITE VEIN MINE OF GRAPHITE, WHICH IS WITH THEIR LEACHING PROCESS IS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A 97.2% PURE SYNTHETIC GRAPHITE PRODUCT. PLUS IT’S VERY LARGE FLAKE.

    PLUS THE FACT THAT IT STARTED AT LESS THEN .02 AND LAST I LOOKED IT’S UP TO 2.10 A SHARE.

    I HAVE MADE MORE MONEY WITH THIS STOCK (TAKEN OUT MORE PROFIT) THEN ANY OTHER STOCK THAT I HAVE TRADED IN A LONG WHILE.

    I WOULD LIKE YOU TO REPLY ON THIS OR I’LL START THINKING SOMETHING IS UP WITH YOU.

    THANKS RON BLAKE

  4. Jean Smith says:

    Never too old to learn !! I am 92 yrs old,and you taught me something that stirs my imagination.I have played the market for more then 45 yrs.I made my fortune by following people who are adventuresome like you. Thanks

  5. Mike says:

    If I want to trade only in non OTC market, so GrafTech International Ltd is the only choice? Is this company ok?

    Thanks!

  6. Gordon Shaw says:

    Your reader’s might be interested in a Sth. African Graphite-rich potential mine listed ASX LYC. The shares have risen from 0.050 to currently $4.00 over a few short months.

  7. Retirefund says:

    These are three excellent choices in the new and exciting (infant) graphene market.

    I thought you would have added Focus Graphite (TSE-FMS) and its wholly owned private subsidiary, Grafoid, to this mix.

    Keep up the good work. Always reading and listening to your informed opinion!
    HP

  8. Marius says:

    Well, that’s always happenning…Some freaking journalist(s), with no engineering background and no understanding of how the things work, stir the **** pot and always create a bubble…like real estate, US Treasuryes, student loans, and YES!, graphene too…
    In the first place Mr. Robinson, graphene storage units are, as you said, CAPACITORS!!!!, which means they are storing energy, not electric current! And the problem with storing and releasing electrical energy from capacitors is they are doing that by widely increasing or decreasing voltage. As oposing to a battery, which keeps the voltage steady, while decreasing the current as she dies…No electric or electronic device, be it an electrical motor driving an elevator,or powering the NY Subway trains,or even powering your smartphone was designed to work on loosing voltage. At this point, none of the electronics surrounding us can deal with surges/drops of voltage of plus/minus 150 volts or even more,so don’t try to tell us graphene is the all cure of our energy needs. It’s not. If will be sometimes? I wish, but in the same time I’m sticking with reality!…

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