Optical coatings market typically comprise of single or multiple layers of metallic, dielectric and other such materials piled together depending on the end-user application. Optical coatings are mostly employed in the production of optical devices to enhance their reflection and transmission properties. On the basis of product segments, the optical coatings can be segmented as anti-reflective coatings, filter coatings, transparent electrodes, reflective coatings and others. Some major applications of optical coatings include electronics, defense/security, infrastructure, solar and others. North America, Asia Pacific and Europe account for over 90% of the total demand for optical coatings.
Anti-reflective coatings were the largest product segment for optical coatings in 2012 with a market share of over 30%. Owing to the increasing demand for semiconductors and energy efficient infrastructure, transparent electrodes and reflective coatings are expected to be the fastest growing product segments for optical coatings in the coming years.
Infrastructure was the largest application segment for optical coatings and this dominance is expected to continue in the near future. The growing demand for energy-efficient homes, cool rooftops and other such features have led to increase in the demand for anti-reflective and reflective coatings. Driven by the growing threat of an energy crisis, there has been a significant increase in the number of government policies and incentives for the use of renewable sources of energy. Owing to which, the solar applications of optical coatings are expected to be the fastest growing application segment.
In 2012, North America had the highest demand for optical coatings and accounted for over 30% of the overall global demand. In North America, the demand for optical coatings is expected to be mainly driven by the growing demand for photovoltaic modules used in solar panels. However, the Asia Pacific region is expected to be the fastest growing region for the optical coatings market.