Essentially focused on channeling the broad utilization scope of laser technology, laser materials market, in all probability, is poised to achieve a paramount upswing in the ensuing decades. It is no novelty that the advent of laser technology has created a plethora of opportunities for leading behemoths across numerous industries to penetrate laser industry by unleashing the myriad applications of this unique & nearly flawless mechanism. In effect, with the passage of time and the rise in the number of research and development activities, the overall laser market has been segmented into various disciplines pertaining to a number of key parameters and more importantly, the role they play toward the growth of this business space. Laser materials market is one such discipline that essentially encompasses the premier materials used by laser making companies to manufacture high power laser systems that are deployed across professional domains such as semiconductor & electronics, telecommunications, defense, aerospace, and healthcare. An indispensable fact that needs to be taken note of is that the development of highly advanced, superior, solid-state laser devices is decidedly dependent on the introduction of high-grade laser materials, which is likely to act as a major catalyst for the growth of laser materials industry.
An Introduction to Laser technology
Laser technology dates back to the late 1900s, 1960 to be precise, which is the year when the first laser was built. Theodore H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories has been credited with the title of building the first laser, based on initial work undertaken by Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes. ‘LASER’ is essentially an acronym for ‘light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation’ and is exemplified by devices that generate light through the aforementioned doctrine. From then on began the conceptualization of the behemothic laser industry, and subsequently, laser materials market. Laser materials, or more specifically, gain mediums, such as crystals, gases, liquids, and glasses were initially used as the sources of optical gain within a laser device. With the passage of time, plastic and ceramics have gained immense popularity and now form a vital part of the product landscape of laser materials industry.
From reliable records, it is evident that lasers broadcasted their way through numerous end-use domains in the first fifty years of their inception, simultaneously propelling the growth of laser materials industry. The 1970s witnessed the invention of argon-fluoride excimer lasers, which were used to transcribe patterns on high-grade electronic chips as well as perform refractive surgery. CD players and DVD players also encompass diode lasers, millions of which are manufactured in bulk. In addition, red laser pointers are often used as barcode readers and cat toys. There has been a massive change in the application scope of lasers since the last many decades, which is set to eventually disrupt laser materials market over the years to come.
An insight into the application landscape of laser materials industry:
Laser materials market trends across the military sector
Laser materials find prominent applications across the military sector. In fact, as per estimates, laser materials industry from military applications has been projected to increase at a commendable growth rate over 2017-2024. Today, singling out military targets has become easier owing to electro-optical devi
The military sector has also been witnessing the development of laser directed armaments to counterbalance the perils of land-based targets, mini-planes, or drones. Subject to the lightweight property of these weapons and their ironically reduced costs, experts predict that laser materials industry will indeed carve out an exponential growth graph over the ensuing years.
Military arms and ammunition are not the only staples for the expansion of laser materials market in the defense sector. The latest fad to gain prominence is the usage of lasers on warships. The U.S. Navy has actually been testing a 30 KW laser on the USS Ponce, its Austin-class transport dock. Industry biggies including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon have also been antagonizing each other with concerns to the development of laser weapons. Lockheed Martin, for instance, has recently announced the launch of a 60 KW laser weapon that is expected to be installed very soon on Army trucks, a move that is likely to augment the scope of laser materials industry.
Industry experts predict that laser weapons of more than 150 KW may be introduced over the next decade. These powerful lasers will be designed to even knock out heavy missiles. A leading industry analyst went far to state that the U.S. military is likely to use laser systems of more than 300 KW within the next 8 years, a factor that will principally drive U.S laser materials market over 2017-2024.
Laser materials industry trends across the communication sector
Optical communication has always been one the key professional domains deploying laser technology, which has indirectly led to the expansion of laser materials market. Diode lasers, deployed as high-speed transmitters in analog and digital fiber optic networks, are the vital components of broadband communication systems used for digital data communication. Laser material are used to develop devices used as transmitters that encode messages into optical signals that are carried to the receiver. At the destination end, these messages are decoded from the received optical signal. The widespread scope of optical communication across numerous end-use sectors has led manufacturers to develop a variety of laser materials, thereby propelling the development of the overall laser materials industry.
Metamaterial technologies market is one of the developing industries of recent times, and is still at the nascent stage of progression. Owing to the convenience and superiority of laser technology, it is extensively used to manufacture metamaterials that will negatively refract light and tighten its focus on areas of minimal wavelength, thereby leading to narrow semiconductor line widths and accurate photolithography. This will lead to the development of smaller, compact, and concise electronic components, which will positively shape the growth graph of laser materials industry from the communications domain.
Heat-based magnetic recording is one of the latest techniques circulating in the market. Apparently, this process uses the properties of laser to create smaller storage bits than what exists at present, to increase the current computer disk storage capacity by a factor of 20. In effect, the commercialization of this technique will lead to a fierce competition among business players, eventually impelling the growth prospects of laser materials industry.
Another trend making waves in laser materials market is that of OTDR (optical time domain reflectometry), which is basically a fast spreading test method to check the functionality of fiber optic cables. With the expansion of physical frontiers, the demand for closely-built fiber optic networks is on a rise. In effect, fiber optic cables are required to be constructed in a demanding environment, which necessitates the deployment of simple diagnostics. OTDR facilitates the transmission of high power laser pulses, the back reflection of which characterizes the faults in the optical fiber link. The rising prominence of OTDR systems will augment the demand for innovative laser materials, thereby leading to an exponentially growing laser materials industry.
Laser materials market trends across the medical sector
Laser materials industry receives much of its valuation from the medical sector, subject to the deployment of laser technology in dentistry, oncology, gene therapy, stent fabrication, nerve repair, and drug delivery. Stent laser cutting, deployed with infrared laser pulses spaced between a duration of a few nanoseconds, have proved to be successful for years together. Lately though, there has been a revolution of sorts with regards to the pulse durations. Now, USP (ultrashort pulse) lasers are the fad prevalent in the medical sector pertaining to laser materials market. USP pulse durations last for a few hundreds of femtoseconds and are 100,000 times shorter than the nanosecond durations of laser pulses. This technique is the most recent innovation in the stent industry, given that it produces remarkable results.
With the passage of time, stent makers have changed their preferences with regards to material usage. While stainless steel was the most commonly used material initially, followed by alloys such as that of nickel-titanium, the latest trend in the laser materials industry is the usage of super alloys such as cobalt-chromium. This disruptive trend was brought about by the requirement smaller, thin-walled stents for unblocking the coronary arteries.
The medical sector bears testimony to the fact that laser pulses are now being used to penetrate the skin to detect melanomas. In addition, extensive R&D activities have ensured the successful usage of laser holography to scan ovarian tissues for the occurrence of cancer cells. The comprehensive utilization of laser technology to illuminate cellular activity for the detection of cancer remains, till date, one of the most significant applications of laser materials market in the medical sector.
It is no novelty that since a considerably long time, laser therapy has been used for aesthetic purposes, which forms a major discipline of the medical sector. Laser technology has been deployed voluminously for skin, hair, dental, and a host of other cosmetic treatments, which has led to the growth of laser materials industry share from the medical sector. While North America and Europe remain the key regions to depict growth in this sector, emerging economies such as India, Thailand, and Indonesia have become rather lucrative grounds for the growth of laser materials market from the medical sector. This growth can be credited to the surge in consumer incomes and the subsequent spending capacity, in addition to the emphasis placed on good looks and improved health. The surge in the number of cosmetic procedures, disease detection, and tattoo removal have augmented the frequency of laser treatments, the positive ramifications of which are likely to be witnessed through the valuation of laser materials industry from the medical sector by 2024.
Laser innovations: Now and in future, that will impel laser materials market growth
Since the last many decades, lasers are being extensively used in numerous applications, as is evident from the innovations that have changed the landscape of many industries. One of the most popular laser innovations is laparoscopy – non-invasive laser surgery that has gained remarkable prominence in the last decade. Performed with the help of CO2 lasers, this surgical procedure, despite minor risks, has garnered huge attention within a short span. This is evident from the fact that more than 95% of cholecystectomies in the U.S. are performed laparoscopically. The increasing scope of innovations is likely to lead to the massive growth of global laser materials industry size, slated to exceed USD 1.7 billion in terms of revenue, by 2024.
Innovative 3D displays, one of the most transformative fads of today, is set to reach spectacular heights in the next few years, courtesy – lasers. Single lasers with beams supported by flexible reflectors are actually responsible for these visual 3D pixels. Laser technology will alter the dynamics of the entertainments sector, and are indirectly projected to impel the development of laser material market as well, cite experts. Japan, for instance, has depicted an 8K light field display at the SID (Society for Information Display) conference recently, which will allow one to view 3D images without special glasses.
Another disruptive trend of laser materials industry can be credited to the usage of laser technology in the manufacturing of solar cells. Scientists are on the verge of developing a procedure that will markedly reduce the production costs of solar cells. This research is being carried out in the Stuttgart University and is likely to reach the masses in a couple of years. This innovation, in all probability, will revolutionize the laser industry, and by extension, the laser materials market.
What the future holds
The usage of titanium, neodymium, sapphire, etc., has been gaining prominence in laser materials industry of late. As per experts, next-gen precision measurements are likely to be achieved through titanium-sapphire lasers, supported by neodymium lasers of double the frequency, which have the ability to generate femtosecond pulses that can measure optical frequencies with supreme accuracy.
Industry experts state that GaAs lasers are also on their way to become pump sources for neodymium lasers, culminating in the replacement of lamp pumping. Of late, multimode fiber lasers are also in queue to be used as short-range laser weapons due to their efficiency.
The laser material market is expected to face numerous challenges in the future, with the rising plethora of consequential trends, such as the prospective development short wavelength light sources that will ease the process of writing on to semiconductor chips. Nevertheless, the driving force behind the growth of laser materials industry can be credited solely to its application realm, which seems to be accelerating at a tremendous pace. The future is likely to witness monumental growth in the range of laser applications – right from research to medical and electronics to defense and more, thereby creating a favorable thriving expanse for laser materials market.
Global Market Insights, Inc. has a report titled “Laser Materials Market Size By Product (Plastic, Glass, Metal, Ceramic), By Application (Communication, Materials Processing, Medical & Aesthetic, Instrumentation & Sensors, Lithography, Optical Storage, R&D & Military), Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook (U.S., Canada, Germany, UK, Germany, Spain, China, India, Japan, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, GCC), Growth Potential, Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2017–2024” available at https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/laser-materials-market