The total addressable market (TAM) for super-resolution microscopes was valued at USD 3 billion in 2021. It is estimated to reach USD 6.52 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 9% during the forecast period (2022-2030). Super-resolution microscopy refers to a group of optical microscopy techniques that enable images to have resolutions higher than those imposed by the diffraction limit resulting from light diffraction. Both the near-field (photon-tunneling microscopy and techniques utilizing the Pendry Superlens and near-field scanning optical microscopy) and the far-field are used in super-resolution imaging techniques.
Super-resolution microscopes can overcome the limitations of confocal and fluorescent microscopy because of their higher X-Y resolution, which goes above 200-250 nm. With resolutions of 10–20 nm, super-resolution microscopy is anticipated to shed fresh light on current medical and nanotechnology research. Researchers use these cutting-edge microscopes to perform and make diagnostics in the medical field.
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Growing Research and Development Spending
Super-resolution microscope adoption is rising due to increased R&D efforts in fields like nanotechnology, semiconductor manufacturing, neuroscience, and life sciences. These microscopes offer picture resolution as high as 10 nm, which is essential when examining the cell signaling system and researching the growth of cancer cells. Scanning probe microscopes are also ideal for gas and liquid environments and allow observation of insulator and conductor specimens because the magnification is independent of the light source's wavelength.
Super-resolution microscopes assist researchers in developing new vaccines and effective medications by providing a deeper understanding of diseases. Recent developments like spectral multiplexing, live-cell microscopy, and fluorescence-based component analysis have positively affected the market's expansion. The need for technologically advanced microscopes is anticipated to increase with the expansion of research in the life science fields, which will benefit the market. For instance, Nikon introduced Nikon STORM4.0 in March 2015, which can deliver ultra-high-resolution photos of live cell phenomena. In its ELYRA module, Zeiss introduced the PALM technology, which can deliver 3D images of a cell in a single exposure. The axial resolution is 50–80 nm, and the lateral resolution is 20–30 nm.
High Cost of Super-Resolution Microscopes
Higher prices and operating costs for super-resolution microscopes are anticipated to restrain market expansion over the forecast period. The Royal Society of Chemistry created a STED microscope with a 20-nanometer resolution in Germany. Although the microscope has provided many new opportunities for cell biology research, its prohibitive cost on a commercial scale served as a significant barrier. Most small and medium-sized research groups rely on governmental and corporate funding sources and have constrained purchasing power.
Increasing Use of Microscopes in Life Sciences
The life sciences field is becoming increasingly reliant on the application of microscopy. The potential for imaging has increased with the development of microscope technologies. The understanding of the biological phenomenon is being transformed by nanoimaging and optical methods not constrained by diffraction. Molecular analysis is made possible by the use of sophisticated super-resolution microscopes. The most recent use of microscopes is to evaluate cells at the nanoscale.
STED, the most recent super-resolution microscopy technology, is more suited to living biological samples, making it valuable for life sciences. SIM is capable of live cell imaging as well as three-dimensional imaging. Imaging protein, RNA, and DNA cells are possible with the most recent super-resolution microscopes. In addition, microscopy is used for vital medical research on disorders like cancer. In early carcinogenesis, high-order chromatin folding can be seen using super-resolution microscopy. The market for super-resolution microscopes is expanding due to the expanding applications of microscopy in the life sciences.
The global super-resolution microscopes market is segmented by technology and application.
Based on technology, the super-resolution market is bifurcated into STED, SIM, STORM, PALM, and FPALM.
The STED segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.80% during the forecast period. This is due to the increasing demand for STED microscopes in nanoscopy, life sciences, material science, cell biology, and neurobiology. STED microscopy makes it feasible to explore structural and functional relationships in depth, which was challenging with diffraction-limited microscopy. It also aids in the study of material science and cell biology at the nanoscale. Fluorescence-based analysis of components and nanoscale material is now possible because of recent developments like live-cell microscopy and spectral multiplexing.
The SIM microscope provides several benefits, including the ability to perform live cell imaging and 3D imaging concurrently. The demand for SIM is anticipated to increase due to these benefits and other additional features created by essential players. It works with any fluorophore and quickly processes a 2-D sample in as little as a second. The innovative Nikon N-SIM approach uses CFI Apochromat TIRF 100x and structured illumination microscopy to image minute intracellular structures and interactive functions. Several reagents are available in life technologies for observing various sections, including CellLight, Alexa Fluor, DAPI, and Cell MaskMitoTracker.
The demand for STORM microscopes is expected to increase due to technological advancements, collaborations between various industrial players, and government-funded research. For instance, Nikon introduced Nikon STORM 4.0 in March 2015, allowing for super-resolution photography of live cells. A lateral resolution of 20–30 nm was obtained from 2D pictures. The creation of two focal planes through the development of 3D pictures shows the capability to differentiate molecules with an accuracy of 50–60 nm. For data and image gathering in PALM and STORM, QuickPALM is employed, which has a real-time resolution of about 40nm.
A higher resolution is made possible by employing FPALM in conjunction with several other technologies. The PALMIRA (PALM + Independently Running Collecting) method multiplies by 100 data acquisition rate. Numerous biological issues were resolved by using FPALM in Photoactivatable Green Fluorescent Protein (PA-GFP) that traditional microscopes could not address with their limiting resolution. In addition, FPALM allows for imaging membranes, the cytoskeleton, and cytosolic proteins in fixed and living cells in addition to motion quantification. Dynamic (Live Cell) FPALM can deliver millisecond-scale real-time images of a single molecule with its trajectory moments.
Based on application, the global super-resolution microscopes market is bifurcated into nanotechnology, life science, material science semiconductor, and other applications.
The nanotechnology segment owns the highest market share and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.70% during the forecast period. Super-resolution imaging is a very young and emerging field with applications in nanotechnology. A powerful technique is the high-resolution 3D depiction of the interaction of nanomaterials with biological organisms. The exchange channels in 1D supramolecular fibers have been better-understood thanks to super-resolution stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM) imaging. Super-resolution microscopy can show how biological macromolecules and nanoparticles interact. Protein interaction with metal nanostructures—silver nanowires and gold nanotriangle arrays—has been accomplished using a fluorescent protein suitable for super-resolution imaging by photoactivated light microscopy (PALM). It is the oldest imaging technique used to identify blood vessel anomalies.
One of the main factors driving the life science segment is the expanding use of microscopy in the medical sciences. It was difficult to investigate these tiny muscles since their dysfunction leads to arrhythmia, contraction, and heart failure. Opportunities for the traditional diagnostic use of microscopes are growing as it spreads to other branches of the life sciences. Super-resolution microscopy has various uses, including detecting ovarian cancer, HIV, and sarcomere alterations. An in-depth investigation of the metabolism and turnover in subcellular structures was carried out using Correlated Optical and Isotopic Nanoscopy (COIN), a technique that combines SIM and STED. With less than 100mW of laser power, gated continuous wave-STED (g-STED) enables the capture of live cell pictures. Alpha-synuclein aggregate levels can be examined using super-resolution microscopes to determine whether or not a person has Parkinson's disease.
Super-resolution microscopy is a relatively new technique, but it is developing quickly in studying materials. Nanotechnology and material science are both applied in the creation of nanomaterials. Super-resolution microscopy is also widely used to study the spatial distribution of lipid bilayers and other materials. For instance, a custom-built STORM/PALM for single-molecule detection and localization with 3D super-resolution is available from the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO). The team is looking for an effective way to combine single-molecule-based techniques with super-resolution microscopes to expand the biological application to live cell imaging.
North America Dominates the Global Market
The global super-resolution microscopes market is bifurcated into four regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
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North America is the most significant global super-resolution microscopes market shareholder and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.90% during the forecast period. The region's super-resolution microscopes market is growing due to technological breakthroughs and intensive research in various fields, including semiconductors, biological sciences, and nanotechnology. Due to the high prevalence of infectious diseases and large businesses in the area, the central segment is life sciences, which accounts for a sizable portion of the industry. In addition, research on infectious disease mechanisms, viral structures, cancer cell proliferation mechanisms, and other pathways that need to be investigated beyond the resolution of conventional microscopy is being done in the region.
Europe is expected to boost at a CAGR of 9.30% during the forecast period. The market in this region has increased growth potential due to the vigorous activity among research institutions and start-ups. For instance, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory launched a business in October 2015 to create goods for light-sheet microscopy. The biosciences market is the target market for these goods. In addition, the 15th International European Light Microscopy Initiative (ELMI) meeting was held by the IRB (Institute for Research in Biomedicine) Barcelona and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), with an emphasis on cutting-edge advancements and the use of light microscopy in the life sciences.
Asia-Pacific is expected to grow significantly over the forecast period. This is due to a rise in interest from foreign companies to invest in this area, burgeoning nanotechnology research and numerous government initiatives supporting research and development. For instance, the Council for Science and Technology Policy, the Japan Society for Promotion of Science, and the Cabinet Office supported a financing initiative to encourage researchers to create super-resolution microscopes to study biomedical data. In addition, the Japanese Society of Microscopy’s annual meetings highlights the microscopy industry's development. The 74th annual conference of the association took place in May 2018 to present developments in 3D imaging and tomography, low voltage electron microscopes, correlative microscopy in the life and material sciences, and scanning probe microscopy.
The Middle East and African super-resolution microscopes market is expected to expand as a result of government grants, conferences held to discuss developments and exchange fresher ideas, and key players' ongoing efforts to produce higher resolutions. For instance, numerous initiatives have been made to build various gene networking links and overcome the current imaging limitations. In addition, projects have been started at the Mhlangalab facility to further the field of super-resolution microscopes. New research is being started to get beyond the present technologies' limitations—such as the lack of RNA and DNA probes for dynamic switching in STED, cell damage from laser cycling, and dynamic imaging with time-resolved resolution. The research aims to overcome these and create a new relationship between gene territories and gene networking.
The global super-resolution microscopes market's major key players are