The Total Addressable Market (TAM) for high precision asphere was valued at USD 2,594 million in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 5,229 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 8.1% during the forecast period (2023–2031). The word "aspheric" means "not spherical," highlighting the critical distinction between aspheric and conventional glasses lenses. Aspheric lenses are a recent advancement in optical technology that enhances images from cameras, observatories, and other visual equipment. These lenses work well for correcting chromatic and spherical aberrations and other forms of abnormalities. The high precision asphere industry has undergone a profound transformation because of the changing demands of the end-user industry, which has revolutionized the merchandise, fabrication techniques, and technological utilization.
Aspherical lenses are primarily utilized in producing optical devices, automobiles, telescopes, and binoculars. They also help to achieve greater focus, a more comprehensive focal length range, and fewer diffractive aberrations. Aspherical lenses are replacing the conventional use of spherical lenses in the end-user industry, which adds value to a product in terms of accuracy and usability. Aspherical lenses have seen significant technological developments, including adding three different ray diffraction angles on their surface to create crisper and sharper images.
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Increasing Deployment of High Precision Asphere in Mobile Phones and Tablets
A high-precision asphere optical lens helps in the creation of crisp images and the reduction of visual flaws (spherical aberration). Aspheric optics are ideal for various applications, including cameras, mobile phones, and tablets, owing to these characteristics. Aspheric optics produce high-resolution images by eliminating spherical aberration. As a result, this optics form is suitable for applications requiring high precision.
Smartphones are among the most used consumer devices on the globe, and they include various high-technology optical systems. Most of them have numerous camera units, making it difficult for designers and manufacturers to fulfill all the demands of the customers, including cost affordability and size requirements. Lens modules for smartphone cameras are sophisticated, incorporating multiple lens components. Moreover, the shape of lenses is frequently aspheric. Therefore, injection-molded plastic is utilized to manufacture such lenses in large quantities at a reasonable cost. Thus, the increasing deployment of high precision in mobile phones and tablets propels market growth.
Solving the Problem of Aberration
A high precision asphere optical lens is one with a non-spherical surface shape. Instead, it features an aspheric (non-spherical) surface with counter curves at its edges. These counter-curves cause light rays striking the lens periphery to merge at the same focus point as light rays reach the center point. Moreover, standard lenses employ spherical elements, some of which cannot direct light from their borders to the same focal point as light from its center passes through it. Designers frequently halt their optical device manufacturing to omit the edges to prevent excessive field curvature, particularly with wide-angle lenses. Consequently, aspheric lenses are employed in high-end optics to create more explicit images and minimize or remove certain optical flaws such as chromatic aberrations, field curvature spherical aberration, and others., thereby driving the market's growth.
Challenges Related to Measurement and Coating of Aspherical Lenses
Aspheric lenses are more expensive than spheric ones owing to their complex manufacturing process. These lenses have complex curvatures and feature anti-scratch and anti-glare coatings to eliminate reflections from the flatter lens surface, eventually leading to increased lens pricing. Since aspheres frequently feature steeper surface angles than spherical optics, layering optical coatings pose distinct complications. Coating effects induced by vertical aspheric surfaces can generate unnecessary reflections, thereby changing lens spectral efficiency. There are mainly two obstacles that arise due to steep aspheric surfaces: the deposition effect and the angle-of-incidence (AOI) effect.
Furthermore, the grinding process employed in producing these lenses is challenging, takes a long time, and is exorbitant. Since the creation of aspherical lenses necessitates a high level of precision, they are much more expensive than conventional or spheric lenses. Hence, such factors create challenges for high precision asphere manufacturers.
Increased Adoption of Video Surveillance Drones and Body-Worn Cameras
The increasing demand for video surveillance will create immense opportunities for high precision asphere suppliers. Video surveillance is generally used for remote video monitoring, facility protection, operations monitoring, vandalism deterrence, and many others. These lenses can efficiently enhance the light source while maintaining the highest definition (HD) pictures. Integration of the aspherical lens with edge-based platforms, such as body-worn cameras and drones, is expected to drive the demand for the high precision asphere companies during the forecast period. Drones accelerate mobile surveillance for various military, border security, natural disasters, and other applications. Drone surveillance gathers information about the target from a distance or altitude. Thus, a good quality and durable aspherical lens could be vital in capturing images.
In addition to drones, the body-worn camera is another relevant example of an integrated video surveillance system. These cameras are used by security officers, healthcare workers, and retail staff to capture video and audio digitally. It typically comprises a camera, rechargeable battery, and microphone, with a data storage unit that is either integrated or a separate unit connected to the camera. The media and entertainment industry can also utilize such cameras to perform sting operations or closely watch any event without getting noticed. Therefore, incorporating innovative lenses such as aspherical lenses is expected to expand the feasibility of video surveillance.
The global high precision asphere market is segmented into product type and application
By product type, the global market is divided into glass aspherical lens and plastic aspherical lens.
The glass aspherical lens segment owns the highest market share and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 8.4% over the forecast period. Glass aspheric lenses are made by heating the glass material to a high temperature to transform it into plastic, which is then shaped using an aspheric mold. Additionally, the low cost and strong performance of glass aspherical lenses are boosting their application in cameras, smartphones, laser-diode collimation, and light coupling into the optical fiber. These aspheric lenses are most found in observatories, laboratories, and precision optical instruments. Furthermore, these lenses are commonly employed in the optical wearables industry to manufacture products such as high precision asphere specs. Glass aspherical lenses offer a more comprehensive range of refractive indexes and, consequently, a wider range of application areas. The most notable advantage of a glass aspheric lens over a standard spherical lens is its ability to rectify spherical aberration. These aspheric lenses enable developers to fix the anomaly with fewer optical lenses than spherical lenses, thus making the optical system smaller.
Plastic aspheric lenses are cheap as they are mass-produced, easily molded or pressed, and simpler to coat. These lenses have better durability and a long lifespan due to the introduction of additives such as ultraviolet (UV) resistance and scratch resistance to the raw materials of the plastic aspherical lenses. Plastic lenses are beneficial because they are light weighted and can be integrated with mounting features to create a single element. The plastic aspherical lens has a lower range of refractive index and can only allow 400-700 nm of wavelength through them without compromising the focus of the image. Conversely, plastic aspherical lenses have lower spherical aberration and lower diffraction limits. These lenses are used for various end-use applications such as automotive, binoculars, laptops, and mobile phones. However, plastic aspheric lenses are not thermally stable and pressure-resistant like glass; they must be specially treated to create an operational aspheric lens.
By application, the global market is divided into the automotive, camera, mobile phone and tablets, optical instrument, and others.
The mobile phones and tablets segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.3% during the forecast period. Mobile phones and tablets comprise compact camera modules (CCMs) used for various applications, from taking snapshots of everyday situations to capturing barcodes for product information. CCMs consist of a lens, sensor, flexible printed circuit (FPC), and digital signal processing (DSP). In recent years, the optical design of CCM has become gradually challenging as mobile phones get thinner and thinner. Consequently, the design space for optical modules within these mobile phones has shriveled with every new product generation, which results in the placement of high-resolution CCMs consisting of aspherical lenses. Mobile phone optics are mainly made of plastic aspherical lenses manufactured by injection molding. Thus, the market for the aspherical lens in smartphone applications is expected to increase during the forecast period. Moreover, the displays used in smartphones have undergone immense transition owing to the adoption of cutting-edge materials and advancements.
Aspherical lenses are increasingly used in optical instruments to replace spherical lenses because they provide particular focus and a wide range of focal lengths. The placement of aspherical lenses within instruments such as parabolic reflectors, fluorescence microscopes, and others creates demand for high-precision aspherical lenses. Optical devices designed for metrology use extensively aspherical lenses and play a vital role in boosting aspherical lens demand in the optical instruments industry.
By region, the global high precision asphere market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest-of-the-World.
Asia-Pacific Dominates the Global Market
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Asia-Pacific is the most significant shareholder in the global high precision asphere market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 8.8% during the forecast period. The region comprises Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Rest-of-Asia-Pacific. Due to the presence of certain leading automakers like Toyota Motor Corporation, Honda Motors, Hyundai-Kia, and Nissan, the high precision asphere market in the region is anticipated to expand significantly during the forecast period. Moreover, according to New Car Assessment Program for Southeast Asian countries (ASEAN NCAP), there is a high possibility that autonomous cars will begin to occupy the roads in Southeast Asia by 2026. Therefore, it is expected to create demand for high precision asphere in the region. The region is also witnessing dynamic changes in the regulatory framework to cater to increasing security threats. Developments like these provide ample opportunities for the growth of aspheric lenses in the region.
Europe is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.0% over the forecast period. Europe is regarded as one of the leading technology developers and producers of high precision asphere goods. As a result of the creation of a wide range of low-cost lens technology-based goods, the market for high precision aspheric lenses in Europe is growing. The rise of new startups and industry-established players merging and acquiring one another are driving the economy's expansion. Due to their larger consumer bases and abundance of manufacturers and suppliers, Germany, France, and Spain have been highlighted as three of the most prominent players in Europe's high precision asphere market.
North America is one of the most competitive markets for deploying high precision aspheric lens technology. The region dominates the global aspheric lenses market due to the issues of astigmatism, distortion, and spherical aberrations, as well as the region's massive development of the automobile and smartphone industries. The U.S. and Canada have well-developed infrastructures in both the medical and automotive sectors. As a result, these systems support research and development initiatives for technological advancement. Moreover, owing to favorable regulatory requirements, these countries also have several top industrial companies that have enabled the market in the area to flourish. Furthermore, local firms in the U.S. and Canada are engaging in mergers, acquisitions, collaborations, and partnerships, boosting the region's aspheric lens industry. In addition, applying the aspherical lens in automobile cameras is likely to become a must-have feature for passenger vehicles.
The rest of the world includes the Middle East and Africa and South America. The growing automotive sector, coupled with the increasing usage of body-worn cameras in the region, is expected to positively impact the high precision asphere market. For instance, in March 2022, Brazil MetroRio equipped its rail operators and security officers with body-worn cameras to improve efficiency and passenger safety. The Middle East and Africa region constantly focus on the advancement in ADAS and autonomous driving that would involve the consumption of high-precision aspherical lenses. Along with some occupied countries such as Israel and the U.A.E., this region is expected to mark its position in the forecast period. The governments in these countries focus on reducing road accidents, hence promoting the use of automotive cameras.
The key players in the global high precision asphere market are Nikon Corporation, Canon Inc., Edmund Optics, Panasonic Corporation, Hoya Corporation, AGC Inc., SCHOTT AG, Carl Zeiss AG, Largan Precision Co., Ltd., Asia Optical Co., Inc., Asphericon GmbH, OptoSigma Corporation, Optimax Systems, Inc., LaCroix Precision Optics, LightPath Technologies, Accusy Photontech Ltd., Asphera, Tengjing Technologies Co., Ltd.