Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market: Smart-sized Devices - the Harbinger of Growth

In an era where a majority of innovations are directed towards enhancing machine ingenuity, evolution is being passed from a small nut to industrial equipment. Multimodal applications of machine visions, ranging from robotic guidance, process control, to automated inspection, continuously require an eye for precision. The convergence of spectral imaging systems and the biomedicine industry will further unlock lucrative avenues for liquid crystal tunable filters, given the increasing resonance of biomedicine manufacturers with their portability, fast tunability, and convenient controllability.

Evolution spawned in the landscape with continuous R&D activities underpins the advancement of disparate applications in multimodal industries, which is likely to act as a harbinger to a lucrative future. Transparency Market Research (TMR), in its latest study, brings to the fore, key trends and insights into the advancing liquid crystal tunable filters landscape, to aid stakeholders contrive future roadmaps for their businesses.

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Evolution of the Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market

Technological innovation serves as a growth instrumental to numerous industries, including medical, military, and semiconductor process control, to prepare for their futuristic leap. Considering the trend, manufacturers initiated their quest for tunable filters with large aperture and high imaging quality, which gained liquid crystal tunable filters the desired traction over their traditional equivalent - acousto-optic tunable filters. In 2018, 3,722 units of liquid crystal tunable filters were sold, which corresponded to a value of US$ 41.5 Mn.

In recent times, as the demand for wide tuning range filters become pervasive, low operational voltage, and large birefringence capabilities of liquid crystal tunable filters make them suitable for optimizing chip areas and developing smart-sized devices. As wireless technology nears the stage of ubiquity, the demand for IoT devices and scarce frequency spectrum will further stimulate the need for liquid crystal tunable filters with high switching speed, to facilitate effective communication. Transparency Market Research (TMR) anticipates that, the liquid crystal tunable filters market will grow at a CAGR of ~ 11% during the foreseeable timeframe.

Key Trends Tuning Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market Growth

A colossal surge in the demand for liquid crystal tunable filters can be attributed to their large deployment in spectroscopy and imaging applications. According to the numbers, the semiconductor process control segment, among the end-use industries, accounts for a majority of the total market share, i.e. 25%. However, the adoption of liquid crystal tunable filters have been growing at a significant pace in chemical spectroscopy.

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Constant improvements and advancements in fluorescence microscopy, on the back of the filter’s capability to alter the wavelength in the least possible timeframe, has been gaining it a place of prominence in bioscience and biomedical science applications. With utmost focus put on the image quality in imaging applications, digital image processing technology is evolving by leveraging the prowess of liquid crystal tunable filters. Manufacturers have been inching towards developing liquid crystal tunable filters that further facilitate the advancements of automated systems, by leveraging their skilled research resources.

North America accounts for a sizeable share in the market, in light of hefty investments made in R&D activities, directed towards innovating filter technology. Further, the demand for semiconductor process control is likely to remain a crucial sales channel for the North American market.

Since such filters comprise a sequence of small units, compatibility and complexity remain a longstanding challenge for manufacturers to tackle. In addition, the adoption of liquid crystal tunable filters in end-use industries would mean that manufacturers will have to discard their legacy infrastructures and focus on product innovation, which demands high investment in the initial set up.

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Tune into the Frequency of Business Expansion

Intensify R&D Activities to Target Imaging Applications

Since the demand for high image resolution and miniaturization of devices has been on a perpetual surge in multiple end-use industries, innovation in the liquid crystal tunable filters landscape is becoming a survival strategy, rather than an advancement strategy. This has stirred a shift among manufacturers towards R&D activities to capture a majority of clientele, in particular, and market share, in general.

Partner with Manufacturers to Gain Reciprocal Advantage

Strategic partnerships and joint ventures fostered by M&A activities are increasingly being a part of the core business strategy of leading players, to gain reciprocal advantage from manufacturing proficiencies. The synergy created from partnerships further aids in closing new business contracts by tapping into promising regions, where the penetration of liquid crystal tunable filters is yet to spread evenly.

Match the Efficiency of Acousto-optic Tunable Filters

The penetration of acousto-optic tunable filters is deep in medical applications, owing to their competency to offer faster tuning speed and broader wavelength ranges as compared to liquid crystal tunable filters. Manufacturers can leverage this shortcoming to improve and surpass the efficiency of their tunable filters over the acousto-optic ones, to be able to target more applications and create lucrative opportunities.

Competition Landscape - R&D Activities Remain the Key to Unlock Emerging Applications

Competition remains intense in the liquid crystal tunable filters market, with effective strategies employed by leading as well as the regional players. Leading players such as Thorlabs, Inc., Kent Optronics, Inc., Meadowlark Optics, Inc., and Semrock, Inc., collectively hold a lion’s share of ~55% of the market, by leveraging the effectiveness of their research and development endeavors toward product innovation. For instance, in January 2019, Thorlabs Inc., averred the development of the VEGA™ OCT line by launching VEG210C1 and VEG220C1.

Market leaders also prioritize investments in strategic merger and acquisition activities to lengthen their product lists and increase their global brand exposure. For instance, Meadowlark Optics acquired Cambridge Research and Instrumentation, Inc., to enhance its business and add value to its product portfolio with the CRI’s 1X128 and 1X640 line of liquid crystal SLMs.

However, regional players strive to differentiate their strategies to fight the battle of dominance within their batch. Broadly, regional players target specific applications and develop their products. For instance, in 2019, Santec Corporation announced the launch of the world’s smallest MEMS-based tunable filter with a low drive voltage for 400G+ digital coherent transceivers. Low initial cost and lucrative returns are attracting a number of new entrants, which is likely to up the notch of competition intensity in the liquid crystal tunable filters landscape.

liquid crystal tunable filters market segmentation

Analysts’ Take on the Prospects of the Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market

Authors of the study are sanguine about the future of the liquid crystal tunable filters market through to 2027. North America, followed by Europe, is likely to remain a lucrative region, with a majority of sales driven by semiconductor process control and chemical spectroscopy industries. Countries such as the U.S., China, and the U.K. will witness high demand for liquid crystal tunable filters, on the back of their intense research and development activities.

Investments directed towards the development of new technologies will surface novel end-use applications of liquid crystal tunable filters, thereby boding lucrative future growth. With machine vision and imaging being key applications, manufacturers can entail efforts in the direction of enhancing their product efficiency to position them in distinguished light and increase their marketability. Industry 2.0, engendering the trend of miniaturization, will account for significant sales of liquid crystal tunable filters in the future. The only hurdle that market pacers need to overcome remains in the form of high research and development cost. 

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Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters: Definition/Overview

  • Tunable optical filters come in multiple complexities, shapes, and sizes, each addressing the unique requirements of different applications in terms of bandwidth, tuning speed, and spectral tuning range.
  • Several technologies are used for the designing of tunable optical filters, such as solid state varactor diodes, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), ferroelectric material, and liquid crystals.
  • Liquid crystal tunable filters (LCTFs) are extensively used in hyper-spectral imaging systems to successively acquire different spectral components of scenes by adjusting the center wavelength of the filter. However, the spectral and spatial resolutions of the imager are limited by the bandwidth of LCTF, and the pitch dimension of the detector, respectively.
  • Liquid crystal tunable filters (LCTFs) use electrically-controlled liquid crystal elements to select a specific visible wavelength of light for transmission through the filter with the exclusion of all others.
  • These types of filters are ideal for use with electronic imaging devices such as charge-coupled devices (CCDs), as they offer excellent imaging quality with a simple linear optical pathway.    

Global Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market: Regional Overview

  • North America led the global liquid crystal tunable filters market, followed by Asia Pacific and Europe, in 2018. Asia Pacific is estimated to be a rapidly expanding market for liquid crystal tunable filters during the forecast period.
  • Asia Pacific and Europe are emerging markets for liquid crystal tunable filters, offering immense opportunities for market players on a long-term basis.

Global Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market: Trends

  • Liquid crystal tunable filter technology is currently in the development stage. There are some uncertainties regarding its use for the mass production of any power device. Currently, this technology is mostly being used in the manufacturing of hyper-spectral imaging systems.
  • Spectral imaging systems based on liquid crystal tunable filters (LCTFs) are widely used in remote sensing, biomedicine, and food applications, due to their portability, quick tunability, convenient controllability, good image quality, and low cost.

Global Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market: Drivers, Opportunities, and Restraints

  • Liquid crystal tunable filters with lyot-type configuration offer several advantages such as high switching speed, low operation voltage, and large birefringence, which enable a wide tuning range from visible to near-infrared.
  • Due to these benefits, liquid crystal tunable filters are widely used in tunable filter-based hyper-spectral imaging configurations. This further drives the global liquid crystal tunable filters market.
  • Also, liquid crystal tunable filters with a wide tuning range are suitable for multi-mode applications, especially from the viewpoint of saving chip areas. Thus, the rising demand for filters with a wide tuning range directly fuels the global liquid crystal tunable filters market.
  • One of the anticipated challenges for the global liquid crystal tunable filters market lies in bringing miniaturized tunable filters from drawing boards to actual foundries led by their complexity. Furthermore, this technology needs all-new step-up systems fitted with new infrastructure and numerous other components, which take a long time to develop. Thus, high research and development cost and initial expenses may hamper the global liquid crystal tunable filters market.
  • Furthermore, the growing adoption of miniaturization can create ample opportunities to enhance the designing and development of electrically-tunable band pass filters based on the liquid crystal (LC) technology. This is likely to directly promote the growth of the global liquid crystal tunable filters market in the near future. 

Global Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market: Key Segments

The global liquid crystal tunable filters market has been segmented based on wavelength, application, and region.

  • Wavelength:
    • In terms of wavelength, the liquid crystal tunable filters market has been classified into visible (VIS) – 400 to 700 nm and near-infrared (NIR) – 780 to 2500 nm. The visible segment dominated the global market in 2018, owing to high adoption in applications ranging from machine vision to hyper-spectral applications.
  • Application:
    • In terms of application, the global liquid crystal tunable filters market has been divided into agriculture, medical, military, forensic, chemical spectroscopy, semiconductor process control, and others. With increasing technological advancements, the use of LCFTs is growing in chemical spectroscopy and semiconductor process control.
  • Region:
    • In terms of region, the global liquid crystal tunable filters market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and the Middle East & Africa.

Global Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market: Competition Landscape

Attracted by the anticipated growth of the global liquid crystal tunable filters market and underlying latent demand, several players are expanding their businesses through strategic mergers and acquisitions, as well as partnerships. Some of the prominent players operating in the global liquid crystal tunable filters market are

  • Channel Systems, Inc.
  • Perkinelmer Inc.
  • Thorlabs, Inc.
  • Santec Corporation
  • Kent Optronics, Inc.
  • Semrock, Inc.
  • Meadowlark Optics, Inc.
  • ChemImage Corporation

Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market – Introduction

Transparency Market Research (TMR), in its latest report, unfolds the growth prospects of the liquid crystal tunable filters market for the forecast period of 2019-2027. The business asset assesses the key drivers that dictate the growth of the liquid crystal tunable filters market, and offers information regarding its untapped potential.

The comprehensive report uncovers key insights into the drivers, challenges, opportunities, threats, and trends shaping the future of the liquid crystal tunable filters market. Evolving preferences and regulatory impacts are also covered in this study. The liquid crystal tunable filters market has been assessed by considering both, microeconomic as well as macroeconomic factors. Readers can find crucial information regarding the notable developments and key trends observed in the landscape, in order to build sustainable growth strategies. The liquid crystal tunable filters market has been evaluated on the basis of value (US$ Mn) and volume (Mn units).

In order to offer an incisive perception of the liquid crystal tunable filters market, the report provides comprehensive information regarding the competition prevailing in the liquid crystal tunable filters landscape. The liquid crystal tunable filters study offers a market share analysis for each company, along with details regarding financials, SWOT analysis, key strategies, and recent developments.

Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market – Segmentation

The liquid crystal tunable filters market has been bifurcated on the basis of wavelength, application, and region. With the help of detailed segmentation, readers understand the adoption of liquid crystal tunable filters in different countries, which will supplement the growth of the liquid crystal tunable filters market. By analyzing the application of liquid crystal tunable filters, the report aims to offer valuable insights regarding the demand trends for liquid crystal tunable filters from end-use industries. 

Wavelength

Application

Region

Visible (VIS) – 400 to 700 nm

Agriculture

North America

Near-Infrared (NIR) – 780 to 2500 nm

Medical

Europe

 

Military

Asia Pacific

 

Forensic

Middle East & Africa

 

Chemical Spectroscopy

South America

 

Semiconductor Process Control

 

 

Others (Pharmaceuticals, Archaeology & Art, etc.,)

 

Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market – Key Questions Answered

TMR’s report offers valuable insights into the liquid crystal tunable filters market on the basis of comprehensive research on new opportunities and strategic developments. The study aims to offer a deep understanding regarding the current as well as the future growth prospects of the liquid crystal tunable filters market. Some of the key questions answered in the liquid crystal tunable filters market report include:

  • What are the key factors driving the growth of the liquid crystal tunable filters market?
  • Which are the key trends affecting the liquid crystal tunable filters market?
  • Which region is anticipated to remain lucrative for the liquid crystal tunable filters market?
  • What are the competitive strategies of the key players operating in the liquid crystal tunable filters market?
  • What are the market shares of the key players offering liquid crystal tunable filters?
  • Which application segment will grow at a high rate during the forecast period?

Liquid Crystal Tunable Filters Market – Report Methodology

In order to come to reliable values and insights, our analysts take the top-bottom and bottom-top approaches. Market profiling, formulation of discussion guides, developing a list of respondents, data collection, data validation, and data analysis are some of the key aspects forming the report methodology.

Our analysts conduct both, primary as well as secondary research, to collate valuable insights of the liquid crystal tunable filters market. Secondary research helps in finding out the overall market size, industry associations, top industry players, etc. In order to conduct secondary research, company profiles, website, financials, press releases, white papers, and publications are studied.

In order to carry out primary research, interviews were conducted with key opinion leaders, industry experts, and major players of the industry. The data obtained is then validated by the triangulation method to find the qualitative as well as quantitative insights about the liquid crystal tunable filters industry.

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