Future for Optical Coatings

Published - Oct 2006| Analyst - Lori Weisenbach Cornett| Code - SMC030C
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Report Highlights

  • Standard coatings have become commodities over the last half decade, but opportunities still exist for specialized designs to increase the utility of an application. In 2005, total revenues from optical coatings were $4.3 billion. Our model projects that by 2012 revenues will have grown at an average annual rate of 3.9% to reach $5.6 billion by 2012.
  • In 2005, revenues from optical coatings in electronics were $3,011 million. Revenues are projected to increase at an AAGR of 3% between 2007 and 2012, from $3,229 million to $3,748 million.
  • In 2005, revenues from optical coatings in medical applications were $157.5 million. Revenues are projected to increase at an AAGR of 12% through 2012, from $208.4 million in 2007 to $386 million.
  • The amount of Optical technology in vehicles is growing and will lead to revenues increasing at an AAGR of 7% from 2007 through 2012, from $347 million to $480 million.


This BCC Research 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.

Coatings markets with the highest margins and fastest growth are specialized niche opportunities such as medical instrumentation, where specialized filters may offer additional information to medical operators. Transportation applications are growing, though margins in transportation tend to be low.

Growth in the telecom sector declined drastically 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-margin coating applications that will emerge in the next 5 years.

Optical coatings are used in telecommunication, medical, photographic and imaging applications. Coatings determine which wavelengths of light are transmitted or reflected, thus determining the resolution and quality of any display or projected image.

This report provides a standard 5-year planning cycle and revenue estimates through 2012. 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 optical coating markets from many perspectives, categorizes and profiles the companies involved, defines unique nomenclature, and details policy organizations, conferences, authors and consortiums.


This report contains:


  • The global optical coatings marketplace, focusing particularly on the markets and opportunities for optical coatings in telecommunications, transportation, defense, photography, electronics and medical markets
  • 5-year market forecasts from 2007 through 2012
  • A detailed overview of optical coatings, including definitions
  • A review of current and recent technology
  • Detailed company profiles and a thorough patent analysis.



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.


Lori Weisenbach 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 Market Research Reports in advanced materials and transportation for BCC.

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

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.


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