Industrial Crystal Demand Increasing in U.S.

The US market for industrial crystals, excluding silicon, will advance nearly six percent per year through 2011 and surpass $1.1 billion. Growth will be driven in large part by strong demand for nonlinear optical materials and compound semiconductor substrates in the communications equipment market.

While the largest gains will occur in the communications market, slightly faster growth will be realized in the security and defense market. Security and defense funding in the US will continue to grow at a strong pace due to persistent fears of global terrorism and ongoing US involvement in the Middle East. Also experiencing strong gains will be medical markets where technological advances will create new opportunities for growth. Though still healthy, more moderate gains will be experienced in areas such as transportation, scientific instruments, and industrial machinery. These and other trends are presented in Industrial Crystals, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.

Besides the expanding wireless market, strong growth in substrate application demand will also occur due to the rapidly growing solar energy market, and the expanding use of light emitting diodes (LEDs) in motor vehicles, as backlights in flat screen monitors and televisions, and in general lighting applications. Growth in detector applications will stem largely from increased demand for advanced medical imaging instruments, though growth will also be realized in the security and defense market, and the oil, gas and mining industry. Timing applications, in contrast, will experience weakness as production of consumer mobile communication and wireless network electronics continues to shift toward Asia, and new technologies such as MEMS provide increased competition.

With the rapid gains of nonlinear optical crystals in optical applications, transition metal-based crystals will achieve the highest demand going forward. They will be closely followed by semiconducting crystals, which will also achieve rapid growth through 2011. Alkaline and alkaline earth halides, as well as sapphire, will achieve healthy gains, though quartz with its primary use in timing applications will see little growth.

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