Atomera (ATOM): Are the dots connecting Applied Materials to Atomera’s MST technology for CMOS Imagers?

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Any good investor will tell you the more you can learn about your investment the easier it is to make good investment decisions. With microcap stocks, that have yet to draw a huge number of analysts, digging deeply into a companies prospects can be both challenging and rewarding. With Atomera, a stock I was asked to look into over 5 years ago, there are a ton of clues that could be connected in many different ways but final validation will come when the first industry partner is announced as they head to production. Even the clues that can be found in the recent 10Qs showing the $400k tech transfer payment came from Asia Pacific and additional data indicating the payment very likely came from South Korea are still only speculation that the first JDA is with SK Hynix or Samsung. A recent blog from Applied Materials could be another important clue. If it turns out they are validating Atomera’s MST technology it is another step closer to industry wide adoption. Imagine one of the worlds largest semiconductor equipment providers validating Atomera’s MST technology. They have been partnered together for years so its just a matter of time before details of their partnership become public.

Because the added oxygen layers reduce leakage, the amount of halo doping needed is also reduced, lowering the 1/f noise. The analog circuitry needed for radios and sensor-signal conditioning are particularly susceptible to noise, so any reduction improves performance.

The one area of the Applied Materials blog that stands out is the discussion on CMOS Imagers. In an upcoming seminar Applied Materials will discuss the challenges of next generation image sensors and how to overcome these challenges. On the Atomera website they specifically explain the benefits of using MST in image sensors and also list their high number of patents they own in this space.

CMOS Image Sensors Need Materials Engineering to Continue Scaling

CMOS image sensor (CIS) arrays enable the multiple cameras in today’s smartphones and smart cars. Manufactured at nodes between 45nm and 90nm, they’re arranged into millions of individual light sensitive pixels in groups of three—one each for blue, green and red. 

The conventional means for achieving higher CMOS image sensor resolution is to use a planar scaling process that reduces feature sizes and allows more pixels to be squeezed into a given area. A major obstacle to this manufacturing approach is maintaining sufficiently high levels of dynamic range. This refers to the ability to capture very low light and bright light at the same time, which becomes more difficult because smaller pixels are prone to saturation that can introduce image artifacts.

To enable continued 2D pixel scaling through the next several process nodes, smartphone camera designers will require innovations in materials engineering that enable new isolation and passivation techniques. For example, as more pixels share the same die area they are increasingly subject to crosstalk that can lead to pixel noise and poor image quality. Deep isolation trenches between pixels are required to separate individual signals; however, as planar pixel scaling progresses, these isolation trenches become taller and thinner, creating extremely high aspect ratios. Today these ratios are in the range of 40:1 but could soon reach 60:1 and even 100:1.

From the above Applied Materials blog its obvious the issues being addressed by Applied Materials are the same benefits from adopting MST technology. As the image sensors go to higher resolution the issues that MST can solve only become of increasing importance.

As feature size gets smaller with higher resolution sensors the importance of reduced leakage and Vt variability increase exponentially

Also of importance is the high number of patents that have been issued to Atomera over the last few years in the area of CMOS Imagers. The one highlighted below seems to directly correlate with the Applied Materials blog.

Any due diligence from this site is for entertainment only and not a solicitation to buy or sell Atomera stock. Any estimates are just examples of what is possible and should not be considered financial advise. I have not been compensated in any way and will never be compensated for my reports.

Atomera (ATOM): 72% of shares held by Institutions and Insiders after Q2(2021) filings

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Every quarter I review all the current 13f filings and get an idea of what is happening with the 23m shares outstanding. Over the last 3 quarters Institutions have added about 1.6m/quarter. Adding all the 13f filings there are now 13.93m shares accounted for and with insiders holding 2.53m shares approx. 72%(16.47m) of the 23m total outstanding shares can be accounted for as of 6/30. With $34.3m(2+ years) in cash and no need to sell shares the float shrinks every quarter. The big adders this quarter were Jeffries(1.1m), Millennium(164k), GWM(159k) and Renaissance(118k).

  • Institutions increased 13% to 13.937m(Q2) from 12.34(Q1) and from 10.50k(Q4)
  • 55 Institutions bought/added shares in Q2
  • If Institutions continue to add at 1.6m/qrt there will be zero shares left of the 6m shares that are currently not held by Institutions/Insiders.

Atomera is engaged in the business of developing, commercializing and licensing proprietary materials, processes and technologies for the $450+ billion semiconductor industry that is growing to $750b by 2027. By incorporating MST, transistors can be smaller, with increased speed, reliability and energy efficiency. In legacy nodes, by adopting MST, performance can be increased and die shrunk so capacity can increase over 30% and help solve the current industry shortage issues. Recent data demonstrated the applicability of MST to leading edge 3nm fabs meaning MST can be adopted across the entire $750b TAM. We believe that MST can be widely incorporated into the most common types of semiconductor products, including analog, logic, optical and memory integrated circuits.

  • Atomera shares outstanding 23.1m
  • Insiders 2.53m or 10.99%
  • Institutions holdings from 13f filings 13.937m or 61%. Below are only the +100k filers
    • Blackrock Inc. 1.287 up 29k
    • Jeffries Group LLC NEW 1.1 million
    • Valley High Capital 1 million
    • Valley High Limited Capital 1 million
    • Vanguard 964K up 76k
    • Peter Appel 871k
    • Susquehanna 792k up 272k
    • Vulpes Innovative Technologies 743k
    • Hollencrest 655k up 13k
    • K2 Energy 520k
    • Geode Capital 337k up 22k
    • Statestreet Corp  329k up 45k
    • Geode Capital 337k up 22k
    • Morgan Stanley 298k down 10k
    • Citadel Advisors 244k down 120k
    • Avenir Corp 242k up 2k
    • Group one 212k up 125k
    • Baird 208k up 12k
    • Northern trust 201k up 12k
    • Bard Associates 181k down 5k
    • AWM Investment 183k
    • Jane Street Group 181k up 44k
    • Millennium 164k NEW
    • Sargent investment 162k up 9k
    • GWM Advisors 159k NEW
    • Renaissance 118k NEW
    • Brevan Howard Capital 108K
    • https://whalewisdom.com/stock/atmr
  • 16.47m(72%) shares held by Institutions and Insiders
  • Float 6.5m shares before retail estimate
  • Estimate retail holdings 3-6m(guess)
  • Estimated Float less than 2m after retail estimate
  • Shares Short 3.25m(7/30
  • Cash $34.3m burn rate $3.5m/qrt approx as of 6/30
  • 297 patents granted and pending with 21 patents issued so far in 2021
21 Additional Patents so far in 2021
10 additional customers ready for Phase 4

Any due diligence from this site is for entertainment only and not a solicitation to buy or sell Atomera stock. Any estimates are just examples of what is possible and should not be considered financial advise. I have not been compensated in any way and will never be compensated for my reports.

Atomera (ATOM)Q2 Summary: Atomera has had some very strong, behind the scenes accomplishments this past quarter that could lead to some very big wins

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Q2 Summary: The JDA customer continues on track and all 10 of the companies in Phase 3 continue moving towards production. No development delays as importance and benefits of adopting MST is giving it priority in the fabs even during the high capacity usage they are currently seeing. Ongoing discussions continue with customers for either JDAs or licenses to enter Phase 4 and a deal could happen at any time. Recent whitepaper showed importance for next generation semiconductors and although the paper is targeted at manufacturers of 3D transistors like nanosheets and gate-all-around structures, the benefits described also apply to work going on in memories, CMOS image sensors, and in other advanced products.

  • CC Highlights
  • $34.3m in cash. 2+ years. $2.4m in cash used in Q2
  • Additional JDAs and licenses being discussed. “Could happen at any time” according to CEO.
  • JDA #1 continues on track and all 10 other Phase 3 customers continue making progress and moving forward
  • Even with tight fab capacity MST adoption considered a top priority and no delays in fab development
  • Example slide shows how JDA #1 could have 3 unique product lines adopting upfront which triples royalties
  • MSTcad being used by Phase 3 customers and what has previously taken three 9 month turns(27 months) has been completed in 1.5 months
  • EPI tool fully operational but clean room needs additional equipment to meet certification standards. Complete in Q3.
  • MST industry wide adoption could happen just like High-K/Metal Gates and Strained Silicon
Companies with multiple Phase 3 engagements likely to be first adopters
JDA #1 will likely have 3 nodes so 3X royalties

Any due diligence from this site is for entertainment only and not a solicitation to buy or sell Atomera stock. Any estimates are just examples of what is possible and should not be considered financial advise. I have not been compensated in any way and will never be compensated for my reports.

Atomera (ATOM): Companies referencing Atomera’s MST technology in their own patents include Samsung, TSMC, SK Hynix, Applied Materials, Global Foundries, Qualcomm and many others.

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Over the last few years more and more companies have referenced Atomera/Mears Technologies and RJ Mears LLC patent citations (typically cited as “Blanchard et al.”) OR publications cited where Atomera is named. When looking for the 19 companies they have been working with for the last 3+ years it could well be these companies since they are well aware of MST technology and have found ways to utilize it within their own patents. One of Atomera’s foundational patents, FINFET including a superlatice US 7202494B2, has already been cited 72 times. Most of the target IDM customers have referenced Atomera in some way. IDM customers will produce the highest royalties as demonstrated in the example below.

 

The circled companies have either referenced Atomera IP in patents or in papers
IDM Example of 1 node royalties of $255m/year

 

 

 

RJ Mears (Atomera) patents

https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/04/21/ed/9abba19de569ed/US7202494.pdf

https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/3a/23/67/3888f0d1b1c008/US20060292889A1.pdf

Additional Articles and collaborations

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320844103_Punch-Through_Stop_Doping_Profile_Control_via_Interstitial_Trapping_by_Oxygen-Insertion_Silicon_Channel

Nanomechanics theme leader Tsu-Jae King Liu (Berkeley) collaborates with Texas Instruments and Atomera on projects about SegFET transistor technology for RF applications.

https://www2.eecs.berkeley.edu/Pubs/TechRpts/2020/EECS-2020-41.pdf

https://e3s-center.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/E3S_Annual_Report_Period10_PUBLIC_final.pdf

Any due diligence from this site is for entertainment only and not a solicitation to buy or sell Atomera stock. Any estimates are just examples of what is possible and should not be considered financial advise. I have not been compensated in any way and will never be compensated for my reports.

Atomera(ATOM): Understanding the entire Intellectual Property(IP) portfolio and who is likely to acquire all or part of the unique pieces

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Atomera is an Intellectual Property licensing company that plans to generate royalties from three unique patent portfolio’s.  Each portfolio can be licensed by itself or sold to the highest bidder. With fixed costs around $15m/year 95% of future royalties will fall to the bottom line and with only 23m shares outstanding the earnings per share can be substantial. Atomera is engaged in the business of developing, commercializing and licensing proprietary materials, processes and technologies for the $450+ billion semiconductor industry that is growing to $750b by 2027. By incorporating MST, transistors can be smaller, with increased speed, reliability and energy efficiency. In legacy nodes, by adopting MST, performance can be increased and die shrunk so capacity can increase over 30% and help solve the current industry shortage issues along with reducing power and water usage that improves the industries carbon footprint. Recent data demonstrated the applicability of MST to leading edge 5/3/2nm fabs meaning MST can be adopted across the entire $750b TAM. Atomera believes that MST can be widely incorporated into the most common types of semiconductor products, including analog, logic, optical and memory integrated circuits.

3 Unique Patent Portfolios to License or Sell to highest bidder

There are three unique patent portfolios that can generate royalties or be sold off.  The first portfolio is the one with the the existing JDA in Phase 4 and also covers the additional 10 customers in Phase 3. The goal is for these Phase 3 customers to move into Phase 4/5 and then into production. The second portfolio which will start to come into play with Phase 4 customers will be licensing of specific part designs for production. As an example, the first JDA customer, which we know will be multiple nodes/customer product lines could well also license the second portfolio for unique designs. The third portfolio, which became clearer on its potential with the recent whitepaper, is for next generation fabs in the 5nm and smaller variety. While it is too early to put final valuations on portfolios 2 and 3 it is safe to say that portfolio 2 will likely follow the piece part(Integrated Device Manufacturer – IDM) royalty path with each part earning a royalty and portfolio 3 will be utilized in next generation fabs that cost in excess of $20b each. A $20b fab that may require MST to achieve diffusion profiles on the highest performing processors and memories that have ever been produced should yield very high royalties.

  • 3 unique patent portfolios to license
  • Core MST Method and Device (Wafer and IDM)
    • Core MST Technology for $450b space
    • 500 nodes potential $64m-$255m/year in royalties per node
  • MST Enabled Devices/Architecture
    • Near term parts using MST (DRAM, CMOS Image Sensors, Varactors, Optical Waveguides etc..)
  • Next-Gen Architectures using MST
3 out 4 of top 5 in 2021 possible producing MST parts

Portfolio #1 Core MST Method and Device consists of two unique licensing opportunities for MST. The first is the wafer manufacturers who will supply MST wafers for companies to build parts that can take advantage of all of its unique properties. The second is to semiconductor companies or IDMs who make unique piece parts and in this case it will be a piece part royalty stream. Both will be estimated for royalties per node. In the case of the JDA, that is in Phase 4, that will be IDM or piece part royalties as they have already said it will be used by multiple business units and product lines once approved for usage.

  • Assumptions for portfoilio #1 royalties
  • First adopters will be with largest semiconductor companies
  • There are 370 fabs and around 500 potential nodes
  • Royalties will be 2% which is right in the middle of the 1-3% that company has stated as typical

Foundry Wafer royalties. Large wafer manufacturers, like TSMC/Global Foundries/SMIC, and others shown below, will pay a 2% per wafer royalty to manufacture wafers with MST technology. These wafers will then be used to manufacture parts that can take advantage of the low resistance super high performance wafers. As soon as one of the  large wafer manufacturers start selling these unique wafers the rest must follow quickly in order to stay competitive. Also fabless companies like Qualcomm and Apple will demand multiple sources for these wafers. As shown below each of the worlds largest wafer fabs will generate $58m/node in royalties for Atomera once running at 100%.

Use $58m per node for wafer model
All Tool Suppliers potential acquirers

Individual piece part (IDM) royalties. These will be for companies like Samsung, SK Hynix, STMicro and AsahiKasei(AKM) who are designing parts that will take advantage of the MST properties for lower power, size, voltages or die shrinks that can boost capacity. As can be seen in the slide below for a large customer, like our first JDA, the estimate for royalties is .09/part. A high volume part could generate $255m/node in royalties per year for Atomera. The first JDA is expected to be multiple nodes.

Use $255m/node for IDM model

Portfolio #2. MST Enabled Devices. The company has patented many specific parts in the areas of Image Sensors, memories and varactors. Companies have the option of licensing specific designs. I would expect these royalties to follow the IDM model as discussed above.

Portfolio #3. Next Generation Architectures. The recent MST blog and whitepaper discuss how MST will be beneficial for next generation fabs. Specifically how it can do a much better job blocking dopants than the industry standards. Carbon has been the industry standard for over 20 years and has severe limitations that the industry has had to live with. Now with MST they can get 3x the performance without the limitations. As the whitepaper discusses and as seen below there is no reason it won’t be adopted in next generation fabs making it a must have for the industry. While hard to put an exact number on if even a small 5 cent royalty per part on all future fabs outputs will be a huge number every year.

99% Blocking of both Boron and Phosphorus

Future Valuation of 3 Unique Patent Portfolios

Trying to figure out the future valuation for Atomera’s IP all 3 portfolios must be taken into account. Portfolio 1 covers the current 370 fabs that cover over 500 nodes. Calculations above have each high volume node in full production valued at between $58m-$255m/year in royalties. Since they are working with half the largest semiconductor companies and have 11 customers in either Phase 3/4 lets say 2 nodes per customer. So 22 nodes and using an average per node of $156m/node brings a yearly estimate of $3.4b/year in royalties. While I think we will start to see royalties in 2022 full running royalties will not kick in until 2023. The 22 nodes estimate is roughly a 5% fab penetration which is on the very conservative side. By 2025 I expect roughly a 50% fab penetration but over time the fab size will come down as smaller fabs come online.

Portfolio 2 which covers unique piece part royalties will much more likely be by a family by family basis. Since these royalties will be part by part and much more likely to be lower volume I will use the wafer fab royalty of $58m/node for each part. By 2023 I could see 5-10 parts fitting into this category or roughly $250m/year in royalties. There is also a strong possibility that certain parts might be sold outright so companies don’t have to share designs.

Portfolio 3 has come much more into focus with the recent whitepaper and data showing how all future fabs will likely adopt MST from the start. First fabs won’t be online until 22/23 at the earliest. While these fabs will produce the bleeding edge parts that typically command the highest royalties I am going to estimate that royalties will only be 5 cent per part. The reason for this is I think this becomes the industry standard, like carbon has been for the last 20 years, going forward. I will use a conservative $1b/year in royalties starting in 2023 but really not seeing mainstream volume until 2025 but going for years to come. Industry standards have to have compelling reasons to be changed as can be seen with the MST data. Of course there are likely to be many other uses for MST to be found as the company continues to find applications.

Summary Valuation

Looking at the three portfolios in full running production in 2023 the company could see over $3b/year in royalties. By 2025 that number could be well over $5b/year. With current cash position of over $30m there is no need to dilute the stock which leaves share count around 23m. With limited overhead of $15m/year almost 100% of the royalties will fall to the bottom line making Atomera the potential CASH COW for the next decade. Unfortunately these numbers are well known since most come out of their presentations. What many people don’t know is every large company has a Mergers and Acquistion (M+A) department within their company. Their job is to find potential targets and determine what they are worth and decide if they should acquire the other company. In Atomera’s case every company they are currently working with has done exactly that. But Atomera management has been working this for a long time and they also know what the numbers are. Until the first Phase 5 is announced I can’t see any offers being made but once the first one hits I think you have 19 customers who all have already done their due diligence. Below I list several companies who could eventually acquire Atomera. Companies like Synopsys and any of the equipment suppliers are high on my list especially with their stock prices so high that they can use shares to purchase with minimal dilution.

Who is most likely to buy Atomera

Many people who look at Atomera ask the question if the technology is so great a large semiconductor company would have bought them years ago. This is the least likely scenario. Just like we are seeing with SoftBank trying to sell ARM to Nvidia none of Nvidia’s competitors who use ARM are excited about licensing from a direct competitor. This is exactly the same problem a large fab would have if they owned the MST technology and another large fab wanted to license. Can you imagine Samsung doing installation on a TSMC node? Not going to happen. But companies like Apple insist that multiple companies be able to produce their parts so they force companies like Qualcomm to develop multiple companies to produce their parts. So while I expect a large numbers of fabs to adopt MST over the next several years the installations will need to be done by companies that are not direct competitors to the fabs themselves in terms of making semiconductors. The list below is likely a good starting point of who would be interested in acquiring the company and the first Phase 5 announcement will certainly bring interest once it becomes obvious that industry adoption is starting. The first Phase 5 qualification erases any doubts about the viability of the MST technology.

Who would be interested in owning Atomera and why

Why would companies like Tesla and Apple be interested in an IP company? It wouldn’t primarily be because of the royalty stream but instead be leverage over the large fabs to make sure they get their parts first.  The industry is seeing a shortage in fab capacity and major automobile and electronics manufacturers are seeing shortages in electronic part deliveries. Since this is probably not going to change in the future having this leverage over the fabs would insure their parts are delivered on time.

Synopsys, Inc. provides electronic design automation software products used to design and test integrated circuits. With the release of MST Cad, which is a speciality program to allow designers to design parts taking advantage of the unique properties of MST. Given they are one of the industries top simulation companies they have the unique ability to understand the value of the MST technology. They are in perfect position to purchase the IP and license to other semiconductor companies given their long relationships with everyone in the industry.

Applied Materials, Inc. provides manufacturing equipment, services, and software to the semiconductor, display, and related industries. They have been a long time partner and are critical for modifying the semiconductor equipment that is used to make wafers to implement MST. They are in the unique position, working with all the fabs, to take advantage of selling equipment specifically to take advantage of MST. This would give them a proprietary advantage in the space. Any of the semiconductor equipment partners they are working with would also be potential acquirers.

SoftBank Group Corp. is a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Minato, Tokyo. SoftBank owns stakes in many technology, energy, and financial companies. The are best known in the IP licensing space having purchased ARM holding, a processor company, for $32b in 2016 and is now selling it for $40b to Nvidia. ARM only creates and licenses its technology as intellectual property (IP), rather than manufacturing and selling its own physical CPUs, GPUs, SoCs or microcontrollers. This is the perfect company to buy or invest in Atomera. While they could just purchase they may decide to take an equity stake in the company and then help speed up adoption by providing resources and contacts within the space. I would guess they could speed adoption to 50% penetration by several years.

Large fabless companies Qualcomm and Broadcom will also be possible acquirers. While not considered in the original analysis since I did not think an individual semiconductor company can own this technology since it needs to be adopted  across the industry it is possible that a fabless semiconductor company could. Since these fabless companies would not be competing with other fabs they could license the MST technology without directly competing with the fabs. In fact the fabless semiconductor companies are in the unique position of needing multiple fabs to adopt as soon as possible and this would help get fab priority for parts and also control their costs by earning royalties.

The reduced diffusion FinFETs analyzed above also exhibit reduced RDF and overall reduced Vt variability, as seen in the table in Fig. 6. Reducing the overall variability allows a tighter specification over the manufacturing range. Since leakage depends exponentially on Vt, the net result is an ability to lower the median Vt, allowing yet higher median current. Conversely, the same current can be achieved for a lower supply voltage. Since power dissipation depends on the square of the supply voltage, this reduction in variability can be used to reduce power.

Boron and phosphorus are well known to diffuse readily in silicon, particularly when they combine with silicon
self-interstitials to form dopant-interstitial pairs. The MST oxygen layers are doubly effective at reducing diffusion,
because they trap and localize the interstitials as well as trapping boron and phosphorus

The main technique currently used by the semiconductor industry to reduce dopant diffusion, is to co-dope silicon
with carbon. Carbon is a substitutional dopant (it sits in the same lattice location compared to where a silicon atom
would normally sit). While the industry has tolerated carbon doping, it brings other issues of changing the silicon
stress, and is recognized as a contaminant which can increase scattering and reduce current.
Carbon doping has been known for more than twenty years, and has been well characterized. The classic
experiment/diagnostic for the effectiveness of carbon doping on diffusion blocking is a boron marker experiment.
Boron is introduced during silicon, silicon-germanium or silicongermanium- carbon epitaxial growth, typically as
two thin regions: one without and one with carbon doping. Once grown the epitaxial stack is then subject to various
anneals, and measured by SIMS

Comparing the MST boron marker with published data for SiGe:C (carbon doping) it can be seen, comparing Fig.
9 and 10, that MST is significantly more effective for the same thermal anneal. While the silicon control is similar in
both experiments, for the SiGe:C case, the peak of the lower boron marker is reduced more than 3x, and the boron
marker broadens by a factor of two, compared to almost no discernable change for MST in Fig. 9. Because of the
quantitative nature of these experiments, the diffusion coefficient under carbon doping and MST can be directly
compared. The result is that MST is more than twice as effective as carbon doping. Furthermore, as we shall see,
the diffusion blocking can be achieved in a very thin epitaxially grown MST region, considerably broadening the
application scope of the MST approach.

Our goal for 2021 was to achieve >90% blocking
for a grown MST region of less than 5nm. The Atomera epi team has risen to the challenge and excelled. The latest
characterization data has shown 99% blocking (compared to silicon controls) of both boron and phosphorus for MST
films thinner than 5nm, under 1000C 20s anneals, and 98% for 1050C 20s anneals. Atomera believes these data
significantly increase the epi applications for MST in advanced devices.

Any due diligence from this site is for entertainment only and not a solicitation to buy or sell Atomera stock. Any estimates are just examples of what is possible and should not be considered financial advise. I have not been compensated in any way and will never be compensated for my reports.

Atomera (ATOM): 65% of shares held by Institutions and Insiders after Q1(2021) filings

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Every quarter I review all the current 13f filings and get an idea of who is buying. Since Q1(2020) the number of 13f filings is up 4x from 23 in Q1 to 97 in Q1(2021). Adding all the 13f filings there are now 12.34m shares accounted for and with insiders holding 2.53m shares approx. 65%(14.87m) of the 23m total outstanding shares can be accounted for as of 3/31. With $36.7m(2+ years) in cash and no need to sell shares the float shrinks every quarter. There are now 97 13f filers and each quarter a large percentage add to their positions. 8 filers added over 100k shares each in the quarter and Invesco initiated a 273k share position. 30 new funds bought shares.

  • 97(Q1) Institutions/13f filers now own shares up from 75(Q4). 30 NEW funds initiated positions.
  • Institutions increased 18% to 12.34(Q1) up from 10.50k(Q4)
  • 66 Institutions bought/added shares in Q1 and only 25 sold

Atomera is engaged in the business of developing, commercializing and licensing proprietary materials, processes and technologies for the $450+ billion semiconductor industry that is growing to $750b by 2027. By incorporating MST, transistors can be smaller, with increased speed, reliability and energy efficiency. In legacy nodes, by adopting MST, performance can be increased and die shrunk so capacity can increase over 30% and help solve the current industry shortage issues. Recent data demonstrated the applicability of MST to leading edge 3nm fabs meaning MST can be adopted across the entire $750b TAM. We believe that MST can be widely incorporated into the most common types of semiconductor products, including analog, logic, optical and memory integrated circuits.

  • Atomera shares outstanding 23.1m
  • Insiders 2.53m or 10.96%
  • Institutions holdings from 13f filings 12.34m or 54%. Below are only the +100k filers
    • Blackrock Inc. 1.258 million up 109k
    • Valley High Capital 1 million
    • Valley High Limited Capital 1 million
    • Vanguard 888k up 38k
    • Peter Appel 871k
    • Vulpes Innovative Technologies 743k
    • Hollencrest 642k up 87k
    • K2 Energy 520k
    • Susquehanna 519k up 218k
    • Citadel Advisors 364k up 123k
    • Geode Capital 315k up 43k
    • Morgan Stanley 308k up 284k
    • Statestreet Corp 284k up 39k
    • Invesco 273k NEW
    • Avenir Corp 240k
    • Baird 195k up 143k
    • Northern trust 189k up 1k
    • Bard Associates 186k down 7k
    • AWM Investment 183k down 395k
    • Sargent investment 162k up 9k
    • Flagship Harbor 148k down 75k
    • Jane Street Group 136k NEW
    • Sculptor Capital 124k up 61k
    • Brevan Howard Capital 108K NEW
    • https://whalewisdom.com/stock/atmr
  • 14.87m(65%) shares held by Institutions and Insiders
  • Float 8.4m shares before retail estimate
  • Estimate retail holdings 6-7m(guess)
  • Estimated Float less than 2m after retail estimate
  • Shares Short 3.47m(5/28
  • Cash $36.7m burn rate $3.5m/qrt approx as of 3/31
  • 276 patents granted and pending with 26 patents issued in 2020 and 4 so far 2021
  • 86 patents pending
10 additional customers ready for Phase 4

Any due diligence from this site is for entertainment only and not a solicitation to buy or sell Atomera stock. Any estimates are just examples of what is possible and should not be considered financial advise. I have not been compensated in any way and will never be compensated for my reports.

Atomera (ATOM) Q1 CC: With the strong technology base and a growing set of solutions we can provide, Atomera is currently very well positioned to navigate the road to a bright future.

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  • Here are the highlights from the 6/10 Stifel Virtual conference that can be found on their website
  • HIGHLIGHTS
  • Working with more than 50% of worlds largest semiconductor companies
  • Phase 4 time frame is 4-6 months
    • JDA #1 started Phase 4 on 3/2/21
  • Patents granted and pending increased to 276 up by 8 in the last month
  • When reviewing potential royalties chart CEO mentioned Atomera is working with leading fabs first
  • Phase 3 can last 3 years and take 3 development turns through the fab. Most Phase 3 customers have been in Phase 3 for 3 years and some have already had more than 3 part development churns through their fab.
First JDAs and Licenses are with LEADING Fabs
  • Here are highlights from the 5/18 Needham conference that can be found on their website
  • HIGHLIGHTS
  • Many of the Phase 3 customers have enough data to make decision on moving to Phase 4.
  • No delays for any of current Phase 3 customers even with fabs at capacity. Projects are high priorities for customers. All moving towards production.
  • MST only solution for legacy nodes increasing capacity to meet demand.
  • Well financed. $37m cash, no debt, no warrants and only 23m shares outstanding. Financed for 3 years.
  • Once MST starts to be adopted expect it to be widely adopted by all fabs as that typically is how new technology spreads across industry. Needed to stay competitive.

Q1 Summary: The company signed its first JDA and completed the Phase 4 tech transfer in Q1. The JDA customer is progressing towards releasing the technology to its business units which may lead to Phase 5 qualification on multiple nodes. All other Phase 3 customers continue to move forward and have experienced no delays even with industry wide capacity issues since these projects are considered a priority. There are 10 customers in Phase 3 and half have multiple Phase 3 engagements.

Recent groundbreaking MST work has demonstrated applicability for solving current issues in the 3nm fabs. More data and white paper to follow. The company also is receiving many industry inquiries on how MST can be used in older fabs to boost capacity 25%. It may be the only solution to solving the chip shortages going forward as older fabs are already running at over capacity and no one is building older fabs and current parts will not be migrated to newer fabs. MST is applicable to the complete Total Addressable Market(TAM) which is predicted to hit $750b by 2027.

  • Atomera upcoming conference presentations
  • Oppenheimer Emerging Growth :: May 11-12 2021
  • Needham Tech & Media :: May 17-20 2021
  • Stifel Cross Sector Insight :: June 8-10 2021
  • CC Highlights
  • $36.7m in cash. 2+ years of runway. $14m/year burn rate.
  • JDA #1 signed and Phase 4 entered and Tech Transfer completed – $400k license fee paid.
  • JDA #1 when Phase 4 completes will release to business units for Phase 5(multiple nodes)
  • Current licenses (STMicro, AKM, large fabless) continue moving forward and pushing towards production. No delays.
  • Other Phase 3 customers(7 customers) continue moving forward and pushing towards production. No delays.
  • Recent MST work has proven applicability to 3nm fabs. Recent blog and future data coming soon!
  • MST is getting many inquires in how it can help industry shortages by shrinking die size. One example showed a 25% die shrink that increased capacity 34%.
  • MST Cad being widely adopted within industry and will greatly reduce time for future development programs
  • EPI tool is installed at Arizona State University and is in final certification. Currently processing wafers.

Status of current Phase 3 and Phase 4 programs. There have been no delays and all are moving forward. While the JDA customers cover multiple nodes and take longer to move to Phase 5 since they are testing out the technology for all their business units to adopt. There are 10 customers in Phase 3 that can move to Phase 4 at any time. Those with multiple engagements will probably be JDAs covering multiple nodes. The following are quotes from the CC.

That being said, all of our existing customers continue moving forward on their development work with us. During discussions of incremental our new customer projects, we have started to hear rumblings of restrictions on R&D wafers because of tight capacity. At the same time, we are seeing increased requests to understand how MST can grow production volume through die size optimization. The current industry problems are a mixed blessing for us.

Our licensees continue to move forward toward commercialization with MST and we have several other phase three customers who we hope will move in that direction soon. 

Beyond the JDA, all customer engagements continue moving forward. A focus on existing customers, ongoing travel restrictions and R&D wafer limitations will keep new customer growth from expanding significantly in the near term. However, we have been experiencing solid interest from both new and existing customers to learn how MST can be used in to expand their production volume and help solve both current and future capacity issues. It has been well reported in the news that many of the world’s manufacturers have experienced production stoppages for the lack of the semiconductor chips necessary to build their products.

Scott Bibaud — President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. The most important thing for us with existing customers is to get programs that we’re working on now push to completion and get into production. Although it’s great to start new programs with existing customers because generally you can get started faster, there’s lower barriers, you don’t have to go through all the formal contracts and so forth. But given a choice we’ll try to push our existing programs to production as best as we can rather than starting new ones

10 Customers in Phase 3 who could move in Phase 4 at any time

Chip shortage will last years. The TAM will almost double in the next 5 years. The MST solution allows older fabs to boost capacity with minimal investment. MST may be the only viable solution other than spending hundreds of billions on older fabs. In the slide example a 25% die shrink increased capacity 34%. The following are quotes from the CC.

One way they could get significant relief would be to use MST. Let’s look at a few different ways MST can be used solve industry problems. According to IC Insights, in 2020, more than 40% of monthly wafer capacity was to process nodes at 40 nanometers or above where more than half of that 180 nanometer or above, a manufacturing technology first introduced in the 1990s. Another 11% is in 20 to 40 nanometers, which the industry also categorized as legacy nodes.

These are the areas where the most help was needed, and MST is one of the only technologies with an ability to provide significant improvements in performance and die size for products in those process nodes. On this slide we show how at 180 nanometers MST SP is able to outperform an industry-standard designed by more than 30%. If we take those same mechanisms and direct them to die size reduction, MST is able to shrink a similar die by approximately 15 to 20%. Our ongoing development work continues to find ways to use MST to improve these numbers and thus, the expected savings.

The step function and costs to build a new facility is too large to consider but by encouraging their engineers to make new designs using MST, they will get 15 to 20% more chips out of the same number of wafers produced without it. Our economic analysis shows this will have the effect of increasing both revenue and profits for the fabs and their customers, while also providing a healthy royalty to Atomera. Remarkably MST should work even better at nodes smaller than the ones we talked about before.

We then traded off the performance improvement for die size reduction using MST on a typical NAND2 gate like the one shown here, it resulted in a 22 to 25% area reduction. Analog scaling with MST provided a 21% reduction. So, overall, you can see how these results can really move the needle on capacity improvement. We have been in discussions with many potential customers about using MST to help solve their production problems.

25% size reduction increased production by 34%

First mentioned in a Robert Mears(CTO) blog in April recent development work and test results demonstrated that MST is highly effective in the next generation fabs. Check out the recent blog. The following are quotes from the CC.

Although the opportunity in legacy nodes is quite exciting for Atomera, MST technology is also very well positioned to solve problems for customers at the leading edge.

As manufacturers attempt to make transistors with the smallest geometries, it’s important that junctions are sharp and well-defined. As Robert Mears’ blog post pointed out last week, MST does a much better job of that than other methods the industry is currently trying. We have previously been worried that MST, while very thin, may still be too big for these applications, so we tried making it much thinner and it still worked beautifully. Over the next few weeks, we will have more information about this development on our website and you can be sure that our customers are going to be hearing about it as well.

Earth Day Blog

The EPI tool is housed at the Arizona State former Motorla fab which is also shared with Applied Materials. The fab is processing wafers and is finishing certification. Besides sharing the facility with Applied Materials this area is also the location for industry giants like TSMC, Intel and Samsung to just name a few. The following are quotes from the CC.

OK. So, our Epi tool is located at the Arizona State MacroTechnology Works center in Tempe, Arizona. It’s a world-class semiconductor facility used to be owned by Motorola, who I believe transferred it to Arizona state years ago. Beautiful state-of-the-art facility.

Now, why in Tempe, which is just outside of Phoenix? Phoenix is a little bit of a epitaxial center of excellence in the world. That’s where there are a lot of engineering — a lot of engineering town out there that does that. It’s also a site of a number of fabs. And when you run Epi you need to have the infrastructure that you need for a semiconductor fab including very large hydrogen tanks and other chemical suppliers that are nearby.

Our tool is set up. We are actually processing wafers in there and we’re qualifying our film. All that being said, we haven’t signed off a 100% on the full facility requirements yet. I know it’s been a long time, it seems like we’re always right around the corner.

Home of Atomera’s EPI Tool

Any due diligence from this site is for entertainment only and not a solicitation to buy or sell Atomera stock. Any estimates are just examples of what is possible and should not be considered financial advise. I have not been compensated in any way and will never be compensated for my reports.

Atomera (ATOM): University partnerships shine light on future Mears Silicon Technology(MST) applications

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Updated on 5/1/2021 Added information on location of Atomera’s EPI tool that is installed at the Arizona State Macrotechnology center which also is working with Applied Materials. Likely all three working together. Atomera recently blogged on work proving MST is applicable for leading edge 3nm fabs and this work was completed at the ASU Center.

The BETR center, formed in 2016, includes top universities UC Berkeley, MIT, Stanford and others. Industry members include Atomera, TSMC, TI, Applied Materials and Lam Research. One area being led by the Dean of UC Berkeley College of Engineering Tsu-Jae King Li is working directly with Atomera and TI and has to do with SegFET transistor technology for RF applications. This shouldn’t be any surprise since she has been working with Atomera for years and is named on Atomera 2017 granted patent 9722046 and 2018 granted patent 10084045. I would also not be surprised if Atomera board member and former TI Fellow, Duy-Loan Le, is also tied into this work(see info below). These types of research programs indicate that Atomera is very well known in academic circles and within the industry. Being tightly coupled with power house universities and leading technologists is another great indicator of the MST technology and what it offers to the industry.


Nanomechanics theme leader Tsu-Jae King Liu (Berkeley) collaborates with Texas Instruments and Atomera on projects about SegFET transistor technology for RF applications.

See link below for report

Details from report below

Established in 2016, the goal of the BETR Center is to create a hub for physical electronics research at UC Berkeley. The Center is led by E3 senior investigators Tsu-Jae King Liu (Dean of the College of Engineering UC Berkeley) and Jeffrey Bokor (Chair of EE and Assoc. Chair of EECS Department, UC Berkeley), and managed by Michael Bartl (E3 S Executive Director), and includes several additional E3 investigators as members.

BETR is an industry-funded research center with the goal to form interactions with companies for long-term research collaborations and knowledge transfer. Corporate sponsors gain early access to innovative ideas and research results, while university researchers gain insight into challenges faced by industry.

In addition, the main research legacy of the Center for E3, the Berkeley Emerging Technology and Research (BETR) Center has significantly increased its impact and research activities with two more companies (Texas Instruments and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) joining the previous four companies (Applied Materials, Atomera, Lam Research, and Futurewei).

In the last two periods, the Berkeley Emerging Technologies Research (BETR) Center has emerged as the prime research legacy establishment of E3. As described in section IV (Knowledge Transfer), BETR is a hub for physical electronics research at UC Berkeley with the goal to form interactions with companies for long-term research collaborations and knowledge transfer. BETR is entirely funded by company members (“industrial affiliates”). Current BETR industry members include Applied Materials, Atomera, Lam Research, Futurewei, TSMC, and Texas Instruments. In Period 10, three member companies had directed research projects with E3 senior investigators.


Nanomechanics theme leader Tsu-Jae King Liu (Berkeley) collaborates with Texas Instruments and Atomera on projects about SegFET transistor technology for RF applications.

Atomera board member Duy-Loan Le is also on the boards of $CREE, $NATI and $BLDP boards. She can pick and choose what companies she works with. Duy-Loan started at Texas Instruments (TI) at 19 and two decades later was elected to the highest title – Senior Fellow. During a 35-year career at TI, Duy-Loan led the development to grow TI’s Memory product line across 5 countries and 3 continents to generate multi-billion dollar revenue, oversaw the development of the world’s fastest Digital Signal Processor per 2004 Guinness World Records, and pioneered products enabling TI’s entry into base station & VOIP markets. Duy-Loan holds 24 patents and currently serves on the board of directors at National Instruments Inc., Cree Inc, Ballard Power Systems, Atomera and various start-up companies.

Atomera’s EPI tool is installed at the ASU Macrotechnology Center. ASU announced last October about future industry collaborations with Applied Materials. Recently Applied Materials announced work with materials similar to work Atomera has been doing for years. Applied Materials patent referenced Atomera’s foundational patents. Seems likely that Atomera and Applied Materials will be working with or is working with Arizona State University.

Home of Atomera’s EPI tool
Applied Materials Patent References Atomera’s Patents
ASU Cleanroom

Any due diligence from this site is for entertainment only and not a solicitation to buy or sell Atomera stock. Any estimates are just examples of what is possible and should not be considered financial advise. I have not been compensated in any way and will never be compensated for my reports.

Atomera’s(ATOM) MST technology solves the chip shortage and half the worlds largest semiconductor companies are working on adoption

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Huge Royalty Potential

Atomera is an IP licensing company that will generate royalties by semiconductor companies adopting its technology into any of the worlds roughly 500 semiconductor nodes in today’s 370 fabs. Atomera has created a patented, quantum engineered material called Mears Silicon Technology™ (MST®) which enhances transistors to deliver significantly better performance in today’s electronics that results in higher performance, lower power, and lower costs for ICs. Once the first companies adopt the technology it is expected that the rest of the industry will follow to stay competitive.

Circled Companies have published papers or patents referencing Atomera’s MST Patented Technology

Q2 Summary from 8/3: The JDA customer continues on track and all 10 of the companies in Phase 3 continue moving towards production. No development delays as importance and benefits of adopting MST is giving it priority in the fabs even during the high capacity usage they are currently seeing. Ongoing discussions continue with customers for either JDAs or licenses to enter Phase 4 and a deal could happen at any time. Recent whitepaper showed importance for next generation semiconductors and although the paper is targeted at manufacturers of 3D transistors like nanosheets and gate-all-around structures, the benefits described also apply to work going on in memories, CMOS image sensors, and in other advanced products.

10 Additional Customers can move from Phase 3 to Phase 4 at any moment

The example shown below in this updated chart shows an example of a fabless company and how they will pay royalties. These piece part royalties will be in the range of 1-3% of the Average Selling Price (ASP) of the part and will be similar to what other Integrated Device Manufacturer (IDM) customers like STMicro, Samsung, Intel, SK Hynix, Qualcomm and Broadcom will pay. The example shows not only the advantage of a die shrink in terms of capacity increases but also demonstrates the business case in terms of royalties to Atomera and additional profits for the adopting fabs.

34% increase in node capacity with MST adoption

As seen in the slide example by adopting MST they can shrink the die by 25% and this increases the chips per wafer from 2235 to 3001. This change increases the chips per wafer by 766 but the actual production capacity increase is 34%. Imagine the impact on the chip industry if everyone could adopt the MST technology and get a 34% increase per wafer in chips? Also by increasing die/wafer there will a huge decrease in the amount of water, power and materials used. ESG is on every companies agenda and this is the only way to improve the 370 legacy fabs that will still be producing chips for the next decade. Also if you don’t adopt the technology your fab is going to be at a huge competitive disadvantage. Fabs making money is the second most important item besides meeting delivery commitments and by adopting MST they can either make more money or lower their prices and take market share.

ESG Benefits from MST in existing fabs

Besides the 34% increase in capacity there is also an example of what adoption means for Atomera in terms of royalties and also added profitability for each adopting fab. Using a standard 2% royalty, that is in the center of the typical 1-3% range, it can be seen that Atomera will make around .09 cents per $4.24 part sold. A large volume fab will typically produce 80k wafers per month although the very large fabs can produce 120k-200k wafers per months. A simple calculation shows that Atomera will earn $255m/year on every node it is adopted on and the fab will generate an additional $3b in profits. These numbers demonstrate such a compelling business case that its not a matter of if the technology will be adopted but how quickly can it be implemented. After some discussion with some industry experts my revised estimate to implement into each node is under a million per node and 9-12 months to go from Phase 4 to production. Originally I thought implementation would be much higher but I am now convinced it is much lower and probably already installed in a number of the phase 3 customers fabs.

Typical IDM customers advantage of adopting MST

While previously I had estimated the potential node royalties for wafer fabs adopting MST technology at roughly $64m/node in royalties now we can see that the example provided for piece part royalties is much higher. With my expectations that a range of 8-12 nodes will be in Phase 4/5 by the end of 2021 I am updating my price targets to include 2023. I still don’t expect significant royalties until 2022 but suspect the stock price will continue to rise as progress like the announcements of JDA #1 going to Phase 5, JDA #2 being announced or even the EPI tool being certified and put into production to drive the share price during 2021.

2021 Price Target. Range $100-$150 based on 8-12 nodes in process of coming online.

2022 Price Target. Range $250-$500 based on first royalties on 4 nodes starting production. Roughly $250m-$500m in royalties or $5b+ market cap,

2023 Price Target. Range $500-$1000 based on 4 IDMs in full production at $255m/node and 4 Fabs in full production at $64m/node for a total $1.25b in royalties in 2023. Market cap projections at $12b+.

All the above numbers are just rough guesses and only include what I believe covers the current 4 licenses that are known today. There are multiple other companies in Phase 3 that should also be expected to move forward in future months. As they advance these numbers will be updated.

IDM Customers will pay highest royalties

Any due diligence from this site is for entertainment only and not a solicitation to buy or sell Atomera stock. Any estimates are just examples of what is possible and should not be considered financial advise. I have not been compensated in any way and will never be compensated for my reports.

Atomera (ATOM): When the seas get rough focus on the horizon

I would guess almost 99% of all investments I have ever made have had some angst. Very few did not have ups and downs along the way. Even when lucky enough to buy towards the bottom no stock moves straight up. All stocks are affected by the general market sentiment and any news can be blown way out of proportion. Which brings us back to the question I get over and over whether its this stock or others that don’t go straight up. What do you do when your stocks go down? Well the first thing you can do is do a check on your investment. Are the reasons you bought it still intact? Has something changed that changes your outlook on the companies future? Has the world changed that makes them less valuable going forward? If you had infinite amount of money to invest would it be here or somewhere else?

So before we go through those questions let’s review the week of trading in Atomera.

Monday: Someone sold off a large chunk of shares. Maybe as many as 500k. In retrospect I think they heard about the insider selling that was coming and sold out a large position. Obviously no insider because if they had waited for the Phase 4 announcement on Tuesday they would have received at least 25% more.

Tuesday: Announcement that Phase 4 of the Technology Transfer and equipment installation completed early and company would get first payment of $400k in Q1. Besides a second JDA announcement this is about as good as it gets. Installation in a multi-billion fab is a huge accomplishment. Next for the fab is to move to Phase 5 and then Phase 6 production and royalties for Atomera. My guess is this will happen as quick as possible as you don’t keep a huge fab offline any longer than you have to. The fab has invested $60m just to upgrade their fab and tens of millions more just to get to this point. Its a true inflection point for Atomera.

Wednesday: Form 4 notifications that for the first time in the 5 years since the stock options program was initiated the insiders were going to be allowed to sell some shares. While in the olden days insiders selling was seen as an indication that something was wrong with a company that just is not the case here. Perfect example of founder Robert Mears. The man has spent 20 years getting to this point. More than likely the stock he owns is part of his retirement plan. He sold 27K shares. People working for small startups are usually highly tied to how well the company does in terms of how they do financially. They don’t have huge pension plans or large 401ks. They shouldn’t be expected to hold their shares forever. Bottom line they are also large investors in the company and deserve to benefit from the improving stock price. How many investors here would be happy saying I’m investing here and no matter what the stock does hold on to my shares forever? My guess is more than 75% of the people reading this have never held a stock position longer than 2 years and 99% never longer than 5 years.

So back to the original questions. Are the reasons I bought still intact? Yes. The companies progress towards large royalties is ontrack and I believe this is just the first of many announcements that will continue coming their way in 2021. I expect at least two other of the companies that have licenses will be in Phase 5 or 6 in 2021.

Has something changed that changes the outlook for the company? In some ways yes. They company completed early the first installation with their first JDA customer. A JDA customer is unique in that they do not have to go through Phase 4 again with other nodes being upgraded. They will go directly to Phase 5 on future nodes being modified. There is a reason the company keeps talking about multiple nodes and productlines for their JDA customers. I suspect in 2022 just this first JDA customer will have at least 3 nodes producing parts with MST technology inside.

Has the macro world environment changed and made semiconductors a poor investment place? No. In fact while the Total Addrssable Market is roughly $450b this year I suspect that will be well over $600b by 2025. So not only is Atomera a huge disruptor into the semiconductor market the space itself will continue to see huge growth. Bottom line everything in the world depends on semiconductors and that only continues to grow.

Finally one test I always use with investments is if I didn’t own the stock today would I be a buyer at current price? To determine that I look at the risk/reward and what do I think the stock can be worth by year end. With my target of $100 by year end this still looks like a low price and the biggest risk is what the general nasdaq does with high tech going forward. While tech has fallen out of mainstream favor at the moment its always going to be a big part of the future which means sentiment will swing back around.

So what do I tell people who ask me how to handle huge stock swings? Ask yourself if your a 9 minute investor or a 9 month investor. Are you looking at the waves or the horizon? I guarantee looking at the waves makes us all a bit seasick in rough waters.

Any due diligence from this site is for entertainment only and not a solicitation to buy or sell Atomera stock. Any estimates are just examples of what is possible and should not be considered financial advise. I have not been compensated in any way and will never be compensated for my reports.