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Global Market for Metamaterials Expected to Grow to About $1.2 Billion by 2019

BCC Research projects that the total global market for metamaterials is expected to grow from $289.2 million in 2013 to about $1.2 billion by 2019 and nearly $3.0 billion by 2024, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.5% between 2019 and 2024.

  • The global market for electromagnetic metamaterials is projected to reach nearly $600 million by 2019 and about $1.9 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 25.3% for the period of 2019 to 2024.
  • The global market for extreme parameter and other metamaterials is expected to increase from $346.3 million in 2014 to reach $573.5 million by 2019 and about $1.1 billion by 2024, with a CAGR of 13.5% for the period of 2019-2024.

In October 2006, David R. Smith of Duke University and other researchers announced that they had created an "invisibility shield." Using concentric rings of fiberglass, circuit boards that had been printed with millimeter-scale metal wires, and C-shaped split rings, the researchers were able to divert microwaves around a metal cylinder placed at the center of the ring. The microwaves behaved as though there was nothing there. In principle, there is no reason why a similar device that cloaks an object from visible light could not be built, although such a visible-light cloak is probably years away from becoming a reality. While not yet exactly the stuff of science fiction, the invisibility cloak is probably the most dramatic demonstration so far of what can be achieved with metamaterials, which are composites made up of precisely arranged patterns of two or more distinct materials.

Metamaterials can manipulate electro-magnetic radiation (e.g., light) in ways not readily observed in nature. Photonic crystals, which are periodic dielectric structures that diffract light of specific wavelengths and do not allow that light to leave the structure (i.e., the band gap), present a current example of optical metamaterials. Photonic crystals have a number of commercial applications, such as in ultrabright light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

Other commercial applications of metamaterials include radio frequency (RF) metamaterial air interface solutions for high-performance wireless communications networks. Most practical applications of metamaterials technology, however, still lie in the future, such as magnetic metamaterials for ultrasensitive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) detectors and acoustical metamaterials for noise barriers.


Metamaterials offer seemingly endless possibilities, but it is unlikely that all of these possibilities will become reality. The goal of this report, which is an update of an earlier BCC Research report published in 2012, is to survey emerging metamaterials technologies and applications, identify those that are most likely to achieve significant commercial sales in the next five years to 10 years, and develop quantitative estimates of potential sales. The report generally avoids futuristic speculation concerning technology applications that might be possible 10 years or further into the future and instead focuses on applications that are expected make it to market by 2024.

The report's specific objectives, which include identifying the metamaterials with the greatest commercial potential in the 2014 to 2024 time frame, identifying market drivers and evaluating obstacles to their successful commercialization, and projecting their future sales, support this broad goal.


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