A new technology called Terahertz could give investors exposure to many of the hot sectors in the news right now. Gun control, 3-D printing and airport security are areas where investors can see nice returns this year. We will focus on the detection aspect but also mention the other sectors.
Gun control and the detection of illegal weapons have been front and center in the media since the tragedy at Newtown. Gun control will be a hard sell even after this tragedy, so the push to place blame and attention to other gun control initiatives will be strong. Firearm manufacturers such as Smith and Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC) garner much of the attention, but there are of course other angles to look at. Detection devices may give both sides something to agree on.
This Sunday on Face The Nation, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly talked about a new technology to detect illegal guns. It is a device that looks similar to body scanners at airports that reads Terahertz - a specific form of natural energy emitted by people and virtually all forms of matter. No company has been specifically mentioned as developing this scanner but there are only two companies that come to mind, USA based Advanced Photonix Inc. (NYSEMKT:API) and Digital Barriers, (DGB) a company based in the United Kingdom. Traders should note that over the last month, Advanced Photonix has seen its share price increase 60% as the New York Police Department has been trialing this gun detection tool. The Terahertz Blog even mentions Advanced Photonix in this context.
Advanced Photonix Inc., is a small cap stock traders should keep a close eye on in the coming weeks. The company is a leading supplier of opto-electronic solutions and Terahertz sensors and instrumentation to a global OEM customer base. The terahertz sensor product line is targeted to the Nondestructive Testing (including Baggage/Cargo Scanning) and Quality Control markets. Markets they are focused on include telecom, homeland security, military and industrial. On its website Advanced Photonix specifically mentions "weapons and explosives detection for Homeland Security and Defense markets" as its applications of focus.
In May of last year, Advanced Photonix showed off their threat detection device called the Saf-T-Chek Anomaly Detection System at the annual Homeland Security conference. At the event Richard Kurtz with Advanced Photonix wrapped a plastic knife blade a few folds into a cloth before pointing a flashlight-like device at the cloth. Nearby, a screen flashed the word "anomaly" in large red letters.
In November 2010, Advanced Photonix won a Terahertz contract from the Department of Homeland security to demonstrate the feasibility of integrating a hand-held time-domain Terahertz (TD-THz) inspection wand with other sensor technologies to create a multi-sensor based approach for detection of concealed threats.
Aside from this detection application Advanced Photonix can be viewed as a possible player in the 3-D market. Stocks with any hint of 3-D have seen their stock prices soar in recent days. On Friday Comatron Ltd, (NASDAQ:CIMT) a CAD software company saw its stock price gain 20% when it was linked as a possible play on 3-D printing. Organovo Holdings (NYSEMKT:ONVO) has seen its stock price double in recent days as traders focused on its 3-D applications. Perceptron, Inc's (NASDAQ:PRCP) stock price has moved 40% over the last three weeks simply because it has the words 3-D on its website. The company develops a 3-D sensor much like the applications of Advanced Photonix.
Advanced Photonix could see a lot of investor interest on news of the NYPD rolling out Terahertz gun detection. Though it is unlikely any meaningful gun control comes to pass, what is more likely is a push for new passive technologies to help alleviate threats. As a major player in this new sector, there appears to be significant upside potential for Advanced Photonix's business. There is also the possibility of gaining attention in the 3-D mania ongoing right now. Additionally, last week the TSA announced it is removing the controversial X-ray scanners from airports. This too could be a boon for Advanced Photonix and its Terahertz scanners. There is much to like with this company and investors should spend some more time researching. Whether or not Advanced Photonix is proved to be the company being considered by the NYPD, being a major player in a very small and new business should be good. The upside both for Advanced Photonix's business and in turn stock price could be nice!
Disclosure: I am long API. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.