Start the conversation
A laser-toting drone hovers outside a third-floor window at a secure military facility.
Inside the office sits an open flatbed scanner – and a computer network already infected with malware.
The Pentagon's cybersecurity system had rendered the malware harmless.
But that's where the drone's laser – a simple one you or I could purchase online – comes in.
The laser infiltrates that scanner – and takes 3.2 seconds to transmit data that takes command of the Pentagon computer network.
What happens next – "shut down defense systems"… "launch missile" – I'll leave to your imagination.
This isn't a plot line from the latest "Mission: Impossible" series.
It's a recent "thought experiment" conducted by two researchers from the Cyber Security Research Center at Israel's Ben-Gurion University.
I share this scenario not to scare you but to highlight the resourcefulness of lasers.
While you may still think of lasers as "fantasy" weapons in "Star Wars" movies, they're used for optical communications, engraving, measuring, positioning, bar-code scanning, 3D printing, surgery, and machine vision. The Pentagon is testing them as a weapon. No semiconductor could be built without them.
And the tech, defense, medical, and industrial sectors find new uses for them every day.
Indeed, MarketsandMarkets says the laser market's value will rise by 44.4% from the 2015 base year to a value of $14.7 billion by 2022.
That's a trend… a growth curve… we want to be in on.
So today let's look at a company – a laser "pure play" – with one of this market's deepest product lineups.
I've identified five reasons why this is a tech stock you want to own – and I'll reveal all of those.
But here's the reason that matters most.
Way Beyond Laser Tag
Laser weapons are quickly becoming a reality of modern warfare.
Indeed, Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) recently received a $90 million contract to field laser pods for fighter jets by 2021. That follows a $39.3 million contract that Northrup Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) received in August to develop the laser-beam director turret for this system.
Boeing and Northrup are two of the biggest and most powerful defense firms in the world today with deep expertise in advanced military technology. Their move into the Self-Protect High Energy Laser Demonstrator (SHiELD) program means this cutting-edge tech stands an excellent chance of being fielded by the Pentagon's target date.
And it would put our fighter jets well ahead of threats posed by other countries.
But as much as I like Boeing and Northrup, there's a better way – a faster-growing way – to invest in laser technology.
Beyond defense, lasers are used across the high-tech landscape: from high-output solar cells and biosensors to holographic displays and precision cutting in chip "fabs."
That's what makes Coherent Inc. (Nasdaq: COHR) such an enticing play.
The company got started in 1966 in a Palo Alto, Calif., …
About the Author
Michael A. Robinson is one of the top financial analysts working today. His book "Overdrawn: The Bailout of American Savings" was a prescient look at the anatomy of the nation's S&L crisis, long before the word "bailout" became part of our daily lexicon. He's a Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer and reporter, lauded by the Columbia Journalism Review for his aggressive style. His 30-year track record as a leading tech analyst has garnered him rave reviews, too. Today he is the editor of the monthly tech investing newsletter Nova-X Report as well as Radical Technology Profits, where he covers truly radical technologies – ones that have the power to sweep across the globe and change the very fabric of our lives – and profit opportunities they give rise to. He also explores "what's next" in the tech investing world at Strategic Tech Investor.