It's difficult for me to find something not to like about Illumina (NASDAQ:ILMN), and it looks like investors agree; the company is up by more than 20% today after reporting stellar earnings with no major slowdown in sight.

Revenue at the Stock Advisor recommendation was up 43% year over year in the fourth quarter. Forty-three percent! That's almost unheard of in this market, but researchers love the company's biochips and DNA sequencers.

My one gripe with Illumina has always been its whopping share-based compensation that drags down its bottom line, but that doesn't seem to be the case this quarter. Stock compensation grew by just 23% -- remember, that's compared to a 43% growth in revenue -- and the company bought back almost $71 million worth of stock. Combined, that helped grow earnings per share -- excluding items like acquisitions and last year's patent settlement with Affymetrix (NASDAQ:AFFX), but including share-based compensation -- by a whopping 67%.

The solid revenue growth looks like it's going to keep on coming, too. Illumina is guiding for revenue growth of 20% and 26%, largely driven by its installed base. Much like Intuitive Surgical's (NASDAQ:ISRG) da Vinci machine drives sales of scalpels or sales of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPods drive iTunes purchases, all those machines that Illumina sold last year will eat up reagents this year.

Illumina and other providers of scientific equipment, like Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO) and Life Technologies (NASDAQ:LIFE), could also get a nice handout from the government. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) budget might get a boost as part of the stimulus package, resulting in more money for researchers to spend on supplies.

With 2009 earnings including stock compensation expected to come in between $0.80 and $0.90 per share, Illumina isn't cheap; it's currently trading north of $33 per share. But investors have to be willing to pay for growth, and so far Illumina has delivered.

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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Intuitive Surgical is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy.