Optical Materials Market size is forecast to reach $4.3 billion by 2026 and the optical material industry is set to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% during the forecast period 2021-2026. The increase in the growth of optical materials market is due to the use of optical materials in various sectors such as the automotive and aerospace industry owing to the optical properties such as transmission, reflection, scattering, absorption and refraction. Optical materials are available in translucent materials, transparent materials and opaque materials. Furthermore, the rising usage of optical semiconductors in consumer electronics is also one of the significant factors driving the growth of the optical materials market. Thus, the increasing use of optical materials in various end-use industries will overall increase the growth of the optical materials share over the forecast period.
Impact of Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the optical materials market in many ways. The production was abruptly stopped due to the declined demand and global lockdown across the globe. The supply chain of the industry was also hugely impacted due to the restrictions in movement and other legal restrictions. The marketing channels withdrew themselves, leaving the optical materials market in huge losses. The investment decreased, which eventually affected the capital expenditure and the spending capacity of the market, eventually leading to heavy irrecoverable losses.
Optical Materials Market Segment Analysis- By Type
Inorganic coating materials held the largest share of more than 30% in the optical materials market in 2020. Inorganic coatings are combined with ingredients such as additives, enamels and tints to make the coating as secure as possible and are also used in the glass surfaces, which are the ideal surface for inorganic coatings. Inorganic coatings are known for their high resistance to heat and damage and scattering properties but they are very brittle that can be used to generate new functional coatings on plastic ophthalmic lenses. Inorganic coatings used for improving the surface characteristics and the optical properties on plastic ophthalmic lenses such as allyl diglycol carbonate lenses (ADC, or CR-39) developed by sol-gel processing are contributing the market growth of optical materials. Also, optical materials are mostly used in optical glasses that are made of inorganic coatings and containing chemical species such as silicon, oxygen, sodium which are used for the formation of milk bottles and window panels that are contributing the growth of this segment. Hence, the increasing demand for inorganic coating materials across various industrial applications is expected to drive the optical materials market during the forecast period.
Optical Materials Market Segment Analysis- By Function
Display segment held the largest share in the optical materials market in the year 2020. Optical lens (transparent materials) are extensively used in the display screen of the electronics products. Optical materials with various special properties such as UV coated optical material, transparent material, opaque material and other chemical composition is hugely used in many electronic products display. It is used for display system in many electronic gadgets such as digital cameras, smartphones, computers, laptops, television and others. The market size of electronics and electrical industry stood at US $ 400 billion in India in the year 2020. This is driving the display segment in the optical materials market.
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Optical Materials Market Segment Analysis- By End Use Industry
Consumer Electronics Sector held the largest share of more than 25% in the optical materials market in 2020 and is expected to rise at a CAGR of 5.0% in terms of revenue during the forecast period from 2021-2026. Various types of optical materials such as translucent materials, transparent materials and opaque materials are used according to the requirements. Rising demand for semiconductors in the consumer electronics mainly in tablets, smart phones, laptops and wearable devices is estimated to be one of the major factor to the growth of global optical materials market. The optical materials based on UV-curing polymers rather than the glass or injection-molded plastics have become increasingly widespread in recent years. They are used as the lenses for the applications like flashlights, time-of-flight-sensors or diffractive optical elements (DOEs) for structured light emitters and miniature cameras. Also, the development for sensor application in consumer electronic products regarding direct coating of CMOS and glass wafer with interference filters is estimated to enhance the growth of the market. Therefore, with the rising consumer electronics sector, the growth for optical materials market is anticipated to rise during the forecast period.
Optical Materials Market Segment Analysis- By Geography
North America dominated the optical materials market with a share of 40.5% in 2020 and is projected to dominate the market during the forecast period 2021-2026. In North America, the trend towards optical technologies likely continue in consumer markets, high-technology scientific and government programs, specialized industrial applications and defense systems. The development of optical materials with the required optical properties such as transmission, reflection, scattering, absorption and refraction, forms the basis of each technology whether it is semiconductor lasers, ultralow optical-loss fibers, or lasers for destroying missiles. Recently, new fabrication technologies have begun to emerge in Canada that is challenging the current limits. They have been put to use in the design of innovative multi-material and multifunctional materials. Owing to which, innovative solutions and technologies are now coming to the Canadian market. Future challenges would require modern, quicker, more scalable approaches to the manufacturing of optical components, with less emphasis on skill-intensive, iterative production methods. To support that aim, some programs have already been developed. For instance, Mexico’s aim of becoming the Latin American leader of the optics and photonics industry has led to the creation of a Mexican Photonics Cluster to work toward helping optics and photonics startups. Thus, growing development in various optics sectors in this region will further drive the market for optical materials in the forecast period.
Optical Materials Market Drivers
Increase in Demand from Aerospace Industry
Aerospace applications require robust optical materials capable of operating in Infra-Red (IR) spectral regions. Optical materials are necessary in aerospace applications because of the complexity of electro-optical systems operating in multiple wavelength regimes and traveling at high speeds in harsh environments. Moreover, an increasing demand for volume manufacturing of custom components and outsourced component integration and where aerospace industry is looking for subsystems and complete systems is contributing to the growth of the optical materials market. These demands for optical materials are expanding and developing as the aerospace industry is growing. Thus, the growing developments and the rising trends of optics in the aerospace industry will tend to increase the market growth of optical materials.
Increasing adoption of optical materials in consumer electronics
Increasing using of semiconductors is driving the growth in consumer electronics for optical materials market. Technology based on electronics and optical is driving the information age through revolutions in computing and communication. The past decade has marked synthesis of new active organic materials and advances in the science underlying their electronic, optical, and mechanical properties. Manufacturers who are into advanced optics business include Corning laser technologies for laser processing machines, optical materials and technologies for manufacturing materials, full optical systems, precision glass solutions for glass wafer enabling mobile consumer electronics. The growing need of consumer electronics will further drive the market for optical materials in the forecast period. For instance, according to the IBEF report, the consumer electronics market of India was valued at US $ 145 billion in the year, which will further fuel the demand for optical materials market.
Optical Materials Market Challenges
Miniaturization in Optics
Miniaturization is the manufacture of ever smaller optical products and devices. For Lenses, it means the excellent surface definition and quality but for nanostructured its definition becomes more complex and includes uniformity over surfaces of millimeter size. Secondly, fully profit from the fine structure of the components one would like to change parameters of nanostructures locally. Thus, with mm size optical element and a 100 nm sized basic structural element, one ends up with more than 100 million elements. For such case, an optical multidimensional systems design can handle many parameters and is based on rigorous method to become a standard. Moreover, the link between the quality of nanostructures and its optical function which is not easy to establish is often underestimated. The characterization technique would have large field of view in mm range in order to see the whole element deliver nanometer resolution. But such techniques do not exist yet and would lead to data volumes for analyses that are not manageable by the existing informatics infrastructure. Hence, the challenges of Miniaturization in Optics are restraining the growth of optical materials market during the forecast period.
Optical Materials Market Industry Outlook
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the optical materials market. Major players in the optical materials market are Dow Chemical, Corning Inc., Schott AG, Dynasil, Amorphous Materials Inc., Canon Optron, Inc., Global Optics UK Ltd., Inrad Optics, Qinhuangdao Intrinsic Crystal Technology Inc., and Knight Optical LLC among others.
In September 2020, Schott AG broadened its structured glass wafer portfolio FLEXINITY® for diverse industry applications in a large number of sectors, such as semicon & sensing, pressure sensor, camera imaging, optoelectronic and RF/IC packaging, biotechnology & diagnostics and sustainable energy.
In February 2019, the Dow Chemical Company unveiled DOWSIL™ EI-2888 Primer less Silicone Encapsulants, an optically-clear silicone for professional LED lighting that cures at room temperature. This advanced silicone technology provides superb optical performance without compromise and offers unique rheological properties for use with light fixtures in a variety of shapes and forms.
Asia Pacific region held the largest share in the optical materials market owing to the rising domestic demand and easy availability of raw materials.
The rising construction industry and its developments are expected to increase the demand for optical materials for use in the window glass of buildings which is further anticipated to boost the optical materials market in the projected period.
Furthermore, the developments in the medical field related to medical equipment and devices are expected to fuel the growth of the optical materials market.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the optical materials industry was affected in terms of operation and supply chain. The capital expenditures were affected to a great extent which further affected the operations of the market. Within the broad scope of industrial segments, markets related to automotive and electronics have been notably impacted.
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