Future for Optical Coatings

Published - Feb 2003| Analyst - Lori Weisenbach Cornett| Code - SMC030B
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Report Highlights

  • The overall optical coatings market will have revenues of $6.1 billion in 2002, increasing to $7.3 billion in 2007, at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 3.8%.
  • Telecommunications represent the fastest growing segment of the coatings market, and is an area with many new entrants.
  • The low yield rate of thin film filters has kept prices for the devices high, while prices for other coatings have fallen. Price pressures will bring down prices and margins in this segment as well.
  • The best margins are realized on electrochromic coatings that are used on automatic dimming mirrors now available on high-end luxury cars.



This BCC study analyzes the status of global markets for optical coatings. Optical coatings may be devices or can be a value-added feature of an optical element, such as a lens. Many elements are fabricated and coated in volume and thus have low prices and margins.

The market with the highest margins and fastest growth for coatings is optical network application. Optical networks transmit voice and data across country and around the world. The networks require complex filters to control the signal transmission along the fibers in the network.

Growth in the telecom sector has been slowed in recent years due to a variety of factors. This report considers market conditions and opportunities in regional areas around the globe. The report also considers the potential new high margins coatings applications that will emerge in the next 5 years.

In addition to telecom applications, optical coatings are used in medicine, photographic and imaging applications. Coatings determine which wavelengths of light are transmitted or reflected, which determines the resolution and quality of any display or projected image.

This report provides a standard 5-year planning cycle and revenue estimates through 2007. It defines product segments for optical coating technology categories, analyzes technology options, and determines current application markets as well as likely future opportunities. Additionally, this report defines and graphically analyzes these fiber optic connector markets from many perspectives, categorizes and profiles the companies involved, defines unique nomenclature, and details policy organizations, conferences, authors and consortiums.


The world's economic system is dependent upon its ability to communicate and transmit both voice and data information. Networks of optical fiber span continents and circle the globe making this communication possible. The rapid expansion in use of the Internet drives the broader optical market.

This BCC study reviews and reveals major market trends, and provides a snapshot of the present, along with predictions for the future of global optical coating markets and technologies.


Network system integrators will use this report to assess the status of the fiber optic connector market in order to identify suppliers and systems integrators and forecast the future markets. Market managers will be able to assess the competition and identify customers and new suppliers for components. Management consultants will determine whether companies divest or invest in fiber optic technology based in part on the market projections, competitive strengths and development issues revealed in this report.

Equipment managers will develop or modify existing products to address the fiber optic technology manufacturing concerns emphasized in this report. Material suppliers will identify market opportunities and new customers based on the study's projected growth in applications. Venture capital managers will identify targets for investment, merger or acquisition based on companies identified and described in this report. Strategic planners will identify other companies with critical strains to strategically partner with so they can share in the overall fiber optic technology growth as projected in this report.


This BCC opportunity report covers, with a critical eye, the global optical coatings marketplace. It focuses particularly on the markets and opportunities for optical in optical communications, transportation, photography, electronics and medical markets.

This study is presented in easy-to-follow sections that overview this subject, define the technology, segment the market by product type and application, profile companies, and identify suppliers. All dollar amounts are expressed in current 2002 U.S. dollars.

This is a complete source for serious players in the optical coatings marketplace.


Materials and data presented in this report were obtained from telephone interviews with marketing and engineering personnel at the major companies profiled, as well as from catalogs, the Internet, patterns, and the literature search of current articles related to optical coatings technology.


The author received a Ph.D. in material science and engineering from the University of Arizona in 1993, based on a dissertation on the fabrication and characteristics of sol gel optical waveguides. She then worked for 2 years at Sandia National Labs on the development of thin film zeolite filters for gas separation applications. Since 1996, she has covered the transportation market as both a contributing editor and editor of Advanced Transportation Technology News and authored numerous Opportunity Reports in advanced materials and transportation for BCC.

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