Albany, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/08/2014 -- Anti-reflective coatings or anti-reflection (AR) coatings belong to the group of optical coatings which are applied on the surface of lenses and other optical devices for the purpose of reducing reflection. AR coatings typically comprise of single or multiple layers of transparent, silica materials piled together depending upon the end-user application. They are widely employed in the manufacturing of optical devices to improve their transmission and reflection properties. AR coatings are also used in complex systems such as telescopes for the reduction of reflections, improving the contrast of the image with the elimination of stray light. They are also consumed in eyeglass lenses, primarily for the elimination of the reflection to reduce the glint from binoculars. Some major applications for AR coatings include infrastructure, defense/security, electronics, and solar among others.
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The global market for AR coatings has been witnessing noticeable growth on account of growing demand for semiconductors as well as energy efficient infrastructure. During the global economic slowdown in 2008-09, the industry for AR coatings experienced steady growth and are expected to rise as economic conditions improve. Growth in the market has been mainly driven by innovative coatings, introducing new applications and benefits. Moreover, future prospects by applications in advanced telescopes and laser hold significant potential for the AR coatings market. As small-scale companies find it difficult to operate under difficult economic conditions in some regions, consolidation has been one of key trends in the AR coatings industry. Owing to this, the industry has been witnessing a series of mergers and acquisitions between certain small-scale and large scale AR coating manufacturers.
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North America, particularly the U.S. constituted the largest market for AR coatings, followed by Europe, with future growth primarily expected to originate from Asia Pacific and Latin America. AR coatings currently represent the largest share in the overall optical coatings market, which are widely consumed lenses and optical components. Owing to its low cost, the Asia Pacific region serves as the manufacturing hub for AR coatings, with increasing number of manufacturers in China.
The growing demand for energy-efficient homes, modernized rooftops and other such features have led to increase in the demand for anti-reflective coatings. Moreover, significant increase in number of government incentives and policies has been witnessed for the use of renewable sources of energy, mainly driven by growing threat of energy crises. Owing to this, solar applications for optical coatings have been witnessing significant demand, further leading to the growth of AR coatings market. However, growing environmental issues associated with the use of certain raw materials for AR coatings are expected to slow down the growth of the market. Focus on research and development (R&D) activities for product as well as technological innovations coupled with expansion of the AR coating industry in emerging regions such as Asia Pacific are expected to provide new opportunities for the growth the market.
North America accounted for the largest market share for AR coatings which was majorly driven by growing demand for photovoltaic modules used in solar panels. However, future market growth is expected to be from Asia Pacific on account of high-GDP growth rate leading to increase in disposable income of the individuals.
Abrisa Technologies, 3M Precision Optics, Inrad Optics, PPG Industries, Ophir Optronics, Ltd. are some of the key manufacturers of AR coatings present in the market.
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