The global metamaterials market size was valued at USD 645 million in 2021. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 5,700 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 31.3% during the forecast period (2022–2030). Metamaterials are synthetic materials with uncommon and distinctive qualities that result from the materials' structure rather than their chemical makeup. The components are flexible in size, form, geometry, and orientation. These components can be organized in any arrangement, which affects the electromagnetic radiation of the resulting metamaterial unusually and gives the metamaterial special features like negative permeability and permittivity that are otherwise not achievable with ordinary materials.
Due to their improved electromagnetic properties, metamaterials are also used in various end-use applications, including automotive, consumer electronics, medical, and other fields. Additionally, the increasing application of metamaterials in consumer electronics and healthcare is anticipated to fuel market revenue development.
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High Demand from the Aerospace and Defense Industry
Improved antenna technology is necessary for effective military, aerospace, and defense communications. Reliable, effective, and real-time communications are essential for network-centric operations on the digital battlefield to deliver accurate information to the appropriate personnel. A crucial, if occasionally overlooked, element of defense, aerospace, and military systems is the antenna. Radars also use military antennas to provide missile guidance for precise target tracking. The market for military antennas is anticipated to be fueled by increased border infiltration, terrorist activity, international conflicts, and attack-prone borders, which are expected to increase demand for metamaterials in aerospace and defense applications.
All nations have also been investing in their defense industries to maintain peace and security. Furthermore, governments include a specific amount for the nation's defense industry in their budgets each year. The aerospace and military industries are currently in a "supercycle," which is partially caused by enormous order backlogs that may propel production in the sector over the next ten years. The need for metamaterials from this industry is rising due to all the abovementioned factors. This demand will be a crucial driver for the market in the later stages of the projected period.
Increased Use of Antennas for Communication
The telecommunications industry has recently shown a greater interest in microwave applications. Engineering metamaterials can create exotic electromagnetic signals. These substances display various refractive characteristics, including negative refractive index (NRI) and left-handed substance (LHM). Due to this, such materials are essential for the creation of microwave components as well as the design and production of highly effective antennas. In magnetic induction (MI) communication systems, loop antennas are encased in a negatively permeable metamaterial shell. Theoretically, it is possible to use metamaterial-enhanced SR communication systems and a small loop antenna to obtain a communication range of about 20 meters with acceptable data rates. Therefore, using these materials in remote areas may significantly affect the connection.
An individual can focus six times farther than the diffraction limit at 0.38 m using metamaterials in antennas. The antennas in cell phones made with these metamaterials are five times smaller and have a bandwidth of 700 MHz to 2.7 GHz. Scientists are now carrying out wide-angle impedance matching (WAIM) technology research. Metamaterials have been shown to provide phased array antennas with superior wide-angle impedance. Metamaterials are being used more frequently in 5G antennas as well. All the factors mentioned above, including the usage of metamaterial-based antennas in antimissile systems, ocean surveillance systems, space surveillance, aircraft anti-collision systems, and air-defense systems, are expected to drive the metamaterial market during the forecast period.
Cost of Synthetization of Metamaterials
The manufacturing process of metamaterials includes tools capable of generating design structures that are highly three-dimensional micro and nanoscale, along with multiple constituent materials in the same structure. These processes are highly capital intensive and require much investment into R&D. Designing and fabricating such highly characterized structures requires state-of-the-art machinery and equipment. Therefore, the synthetization of the metamaterial is a time-consuming and critical process. In recent times, additive manufacturing is also being looked into as a potential production process.
Besides, the raw materials used to manufacture metamaterials include various nanoparticles, which are very costly. The EPD process employs electric fields to deposit charged nanoparticles from a solution onto a substrate. Due to its limited applications, large-scale production of metamaterials is still in its infancy. Due to high manufacturing costs, companies worldwide are engaged in small to medium-scale synthetization of metamaterials. Therefore, a lack of affordable technologies for producing various metamaterials in sufficient industrial quantities limits the metamaterials market from reaching its potential.
Increased Demand for Wireless Mobile Communication
The demand for wireless mobile communication systems has increased over the past decade. Since the approval of IMT-Advanced (IMT-A) standards by the International Telecommunications Union in 2010, the fourth generation (4G) of wireless communication has been deployed across the world. Based on the Internet Protocol Architecture of 4G communication systems, the number of smart and heterogeneous wireless devices accessing the internet is estimated to increase exponentially with the perennial growth of internet traffic. Using metamaterials in wireless communication systems offers better spectral efficiency and energy efficiency.
Fifth-generation (5G) wireless communication technologies are in the advanced development stage and are expected to roll out in 2021. However, there could be delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 5G communication systems are expected to have significantly higher transmission rates than 4G systems, ranging up to 10 Gbps peak data rates within 8~10 bps/Hz/cell. As the telecommunication sector continues to grow, a new era of communicating devices is expected to emerge with the commercial rollout of 5G network technology. Metamaterials are increasingly used for 5G technology components, such as the metamaterial-based design of large-scale antennas for massive multiple input and multiple output (MIMO) communication systems. Metamaterial-based reflectors are also being used to enhance 5G signal propagation.
With the increasing implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile media, and autonomous vehicles, the sheer number of applications of metamaterials in wireless communication systems is expected to increase during the forecast period. The components used in these mobile communications need to be compact without hindering efficiency, which is where metamaterials shine. The use of metamaterial components will revolutionize all wireless and mobile technologies and, thus, will drive the sector.
The global metamaterials market is segmented by type, application, end-user, and region.
By type, the global metamaterials market includes Electromagnetic, Terahertz, Tunable, Photonic, FSS, and Others (Chiral, Nonlinear, etc.).
The Electromagnetic segment accounts for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 31.9% during the forecast period. Electromagnetic metamaterials are artificial materials comprising structures whose electromagnetic properties are deliberately engineered to offer a range of responses that are difficult or impossible to achieve in naturally-occurring materials or composites. Some significant characteristics of metamaterials include a negative index of refraction (where magnetic and electric responses are simultaneously negative), perfect (sub-wavelength) lensing, and electromagnetic invisibility cloaks. Such characteristics drive segment growth.
By application, the global metamaterials market includes Antenna & Radar, Sensors, Cloaking Devices, Super Lens, Light & Sound Filtering, and Others (Solar, Absorbers, etc.).
The Antenna & Radar segment accounts for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 31.8% during the forecast period. One of the most important uses for metamaterials is as an antenna. The performance characteristics of the antenna are improved by using the special property of metamaterials. Metamaterial coatings have been used to enhance the radiation and coordination capabilities of electrically insignificant and aesthetically pleasing dipole reception equipment. The development of metamaterial surface antennas (MSA-T) falls within a new category of receiving device innovation. It can quickly and accurately control a radiofrequency bar over a large range of locations without the use of moving components or expensive stage moving segments. Owing to the aforementioned factors, the demand for metamaterials in antenna and radar is expected to grow during the forecast period.
By end-user, the global metamaterials market includes Healthcare, Telecommunication, Aerospace & Defense, Electronics, and Others.
The Aerospace & Defense segment accounts for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 34% during the forecast period. Advanced antenna technologies are necessary for reliable military, defense, and aerospace communications. Reliable, effective, and real-time communications are essential for network-centric operations to succeed on the digital battlefield and to deliver accurate information to the right person at the right time. The antenna is a crucial element of aerospace, defense, and military systems, albeit frequently disregarded. Additionally, military antennas are used in radars to provide missile guidance for accurate target tracking. The rise in border infiltration, terrorism activities, inter-country conflicts, and attack-prone borders are expected to drive the demand for military antennas. This, in turn, drives the need for metamaterials.
North American Supremacy in the Market
By region, the global metamaterials market includes North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and SAMEA.
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North America accounts for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 31.9% during the forecast period. The United States has the largest aerospace industry in the world. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the total aircraft fleet is expected to reach 36,500 in 2030, owing to the growth in air cargo. Additionally, the US mainliner carrier fleet is expected to grow by 54 aircraft per year due to the existing fleet getting older. Strong exports of aerospace components to countries, such as France, China, and Germany, along with robust consumer spending in the United States, are driving the manufacturing activities in the aerospace industry.
The US defense budget was worth USD 716.2 billion in FY 2021, after peaking at USD 721.5 billion in FY 2020, amounting to an all-time high in terms of the spending level for the last two years of Donald Trump's first presidential term. The readiness of the current government to increase the production of military hardware and secure the position of the United States in the world order is one of many factors that have contributed to the growth of military spending over the past five years. Such trends in the aerospace and defense sector are expected to create demand for metamaterials.
Asia-Pacific is estimated to generate USD 1,600 million by 2030, registering a CAGR of 31.7%. China has the world's highest defense budget. Its recent boost in defense spending makes it evident that the nation is dedicated to finishing the People's Liberation Army by 2035 and turning it into a "world-class" military by 2049, opening up chances for the military technology industry. The most extensive base for the production of electronics is located in China. It supplies electronics to home consumers and exports electronic products to other nations. With the increase in the disposable income of the middle-class population and the rising demand for electronic products in countries importing electronic products from China, electronics production is projected to grow. Hence, the metamaterials market will likely witness healthy growth in the region.
Europe is the third largest region. The German aerospace industry includes more than 2,300 firms across the country, with northern Germany having the highest firm concentration. The country hosts many production bases for interior aircraft components, MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul), and lightweight construction and materials, mainly in Bavaria, Bremen, Baden-Württemberg, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Over 30-35 thousand new aircraft are estimated to be operational by the next 20 years to meet the rising demand from the aviation industry. Thus, with the increased aircraft production, the market's consumption is also expected to increase during the forecast period.