While some technology companies are focused on the consumer market, others push our understanding of science and create solutions that could eventually become commercially viable. But can a business do both? One such company, Zecotek Photonics Inc. (TSXV: ZMS), is bridging the gap with products that have both commercial and research applications.
One of technology’s principal benefits is that it often makes the electronics we love more affordable. Computers, cellphones, 3D printing, and medical diagnostic technologies, for example, were initially too expensive for the consumer markets, but as the technology developed, the costs decreased. As a result there are technology companies that are focused on the consumer tech market, and then there are the cutting edge tech companies that develop and supply technologies to the leading edge labs that push our understanding of science, and create solutions that down the road could become commercially viable. But can a business do both? One such company, Zecotek Photonics Inc. (TSXV: ZMS), is bridging the gap with products that have commercial and research applications.
Zecotek Photonics specializes in photonics, basically an area of science that focuses on how individual light particles (photons) behave. The benefit that photonics has provided, is that it gives the ability to see what otherwise could not be seen, or known to exist. This relates directly to the medical diagnostic industry, where applying photonics has allowed for earlier detection of illnesses such as cancer. These technologies are used in MRI scanners, PET scanners, and devices, which create models or images using sub atomic particles. Zecotek has a number of cutting edge technologies currently in the market place, or are under development.
Zecotek’s scientific validation is supported by the fact that its scintillation crystals, which are used to detect radiation, and are employed in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research), the most advanced physics lab on earth. The LHC, over its lifetime, has proven the existence of what was previously only hypothesized in sub atomic physics, as we were unable to experiment on such a microscopic level. Zecotek’s crystals are part of the imaging system that allows these experiments to be recorded to images, creating physical evidence of what previously was science fiction. Some of these findings include, the Higgs Boson particle, anti-matter, and a number of things only physicists understand.
On the more commercial side, Zecotek has one of the most innovative 3-D imaging screens; its screens allow images and movies to be seen in 3-D without 3-D glasses. Zecotek has three divisions: Imaging Systems, Optronics Systems and 3D Display Systems. Outside of 3D screens and supplying CERN with its crystals, Zecotek provides imaging devices for medical and industrial purposes, gamma cameras and fiber lasers for medical and non-medical applications. The company also provides 3D/2D display for applications in entertainment and gaming, advertising, graphics and design, flight simulators and navigation, geology and mapping, military and defense, real estate and air-traffic control.
Zecotek has strategic alliances and joint ventures with leading industrial partners including Hamamatsu Photonics (Japan), CERN (Switzerland), Beijing Opto-Electronics Technology Co. LTD. (China), NuCare Medical Systems (South Korea), the University of Washington (United States), and National NanoFab Center (South Korea). These partnerships position Zecotek at the forefront of photonic research and as the most credible source for high performance imaging devices, materials and systems. Zecotek has a market cap of just over $40 million, and with its products being used in the world’s most advanced physics labs, these strategic relationships have positioned Zecotek as the future supplier of high-end photonics products at the top international scientific research facilities.
In an interview with SmallCappower.com in January 2015 (watch it here), Zecotek Photonics was chosen by Selective Asset Management’s Robert McWhirter as one of six small and micro-cap tech stocks that he believed would do well in the next year. Mr. McWhirterthinks there is a potential order coming from CERN sometime in 2015 and Zecotek believes CERN might need up to a quarter of a billion dollars’ worth of the two products that Zecotek sells over the next three to four years.