What happened

Shares of Atomera (ATOM -4.39%) have gotten destroyed today, down by 24% as of 11:15 a.m. EDT, after the company reported first-quarter earnings. Atomera recognized licensing revenue from the customer that is party to a joint development agreement (JDA) and recently entered phase 4 of the contract.

So what

Revenue in the first quarter was $400,000, which was derived from the JDA customer. Atomera still incurred $4 million in operating expenses, leading to a net loss of $3.6 million, or $0.16 per share. The semiconductor company is only covered by one analyst, who was expecting $400,000 in revenue and a net loss per share of $0.17. Atomera is working to commercialize its Mears Silicon Technology (MST), which improves performance and power efficiency of silicon transistors.

A silicon wafer

Image source: Getty Images.

"This quarter we reached another major milestone in our efforts to drive commercial adoption of MST by delivering Atomera's MST film recipe to our JDA customer, granting them our first manufacturing license to deposit MST film in their fab using their own tools," CEO Scott Bibaud said in a statement. "Working together with our customer, we look forward to proving the benefit of MST in a real-world semiconductor manufacturing environment."

Now what

Atomera finished the first quarter with $36.7 million in cash and warned investors that financial results will remain inconsistent until the company can start consistently generating royalty revenue. On the conference call with analysts, Bibaud noted that Atomera has several customers in phase 3, which is unpredictable and lacks financial visibility. The chief executive added that Atomera is not currently in "late stages of negotiations" with any customers for new JDAs. Revenue in the second quarter is expected to be $0.

"Until we reach distribution license agreements that generate royalty, our quarterly revenues will remain choppy and our visibility will continue to be limited," Bibaud said.