How often has your smartphone died during a conference call with your biggest client, or while you're enjoying the highlight replays of your favorite team's latest win?
A new substance that you've probably never heard of could end that worry - and a few others, as well.
Just created at the University of Buffalo, this advanced substance is billed as a portable hydrogen fuel cell. Just add water, and the chemical reaction will yield an instant way to charge your cellphone's dead battery.
Not surprisingly, the research team that invented it believes this new form of silicon could also be a big hit with the military ... once the substance is ready for sale, that is.
On its face, this sounds like another bit of technological wizardry ... the kind of invention each of us probably reads about several times a week. But if you take a step back, and look at the big picture as I have, you'll see that there's something much more powerful - and dynamic - taking place here.
You see, we've now entered what I refer to as the "Golden Age of Materials Science." I've been watching this sector for more than 25 years and I've never seen so much innovation occurring at one time.
And that means the profit potential in this overlooked sector is big - and getting bigger with each new discovery.
Industry insiders refer to the product of these research programs as "exotic materials." And that's actually a most appropriate term.
I began following these exotic discoveries during my time as a journalist - as part of my coverage of President Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" program. So I know how these compounds span the entire field of technology, in defense and military applications, in telecommunications, and even in biosensors that warn you about an anthrax attack.
That background has proved invaluable in recent years. It's why I was able to recommend rare-earth investments to my trading-service subscribers in the summer of 2010 - a full year ahead of my rivals. Readers who acted on my recommendations scored triple-digit gains in just over a year's time.
So you can see why I'm always on the hunt for the Next Big Thing in polymers, specialty coatings, composites and biomedical gels. They'll all help drive the pace of innovation in the Era of Radical Change. And they will bring us plenty of profit opportunities.
And there's no shortage of breakthroughs to act on. Just take a look...
Four Ways to Play the "New Gold Rush" in Materials
Who would have thought that the new gold rush would be in material sciences?
We're talking about everything from rare earths that drive precision lasers to the cobalt needed for rechargeable batteries
Not to mention the advanced materials that make computer chips run faster. Or the "smart" materials that are driving the nanotech revolution.
Of course the big news in what I call the Golden Age of Materials Science came less than nine years ago when two scientists discovered graphene.
It's a revolutionary material that will yield flat-screen TVs as thin as Saran Wrap, nanotech supercomputers, and neural implants that combat brain disease. No wonder the two scientists who discovered it won the Nobel Prize.
Now hundreds of scientists have hit the lab to look for new ways to tweak existing molecules -- or create whole new synthetic substances. They've already produced a steady stream of breakthroughs.
Today, I want to show you four ways you can profit from all of this radical change.
For most investors, that will mean focusing on the specialty chemicals sector, which is up about 22% in the past six months. That's more than double the market's overall move over the same the period.
Here are four material sciences stocks that have caught my eye thanks to their strong fundamentals and solid charts: