The global surface acoustic wave sensors market size was valued at USD 896.75 million in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 2,392.37 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 11.52% during the forecast period (2023-2031).
An acoustic wave sensor is a system that produces acoustic waves using piezoelectric material. The amplitude and velocity of an acoustic wave produced on the material's surface might change depending on the characteristics of the propagation channel. Automotive, industrial, defense, healthcare, and consumer electronics are just a few industries that use acoustic wave sensors. These sensors are employed in the automotive industry for tasks like torque measuring, tire pressure monitoring, and pollution control.
Acoustic wave sensors are utilized in the industrial sector for point-of-care diagnostics and drug discovery and development, as well as for workplace monitoring, combustion emission monitoring, and water quality management. As they operate passively, have a slower response time, and are wireless, acoustic wave sensors have a competitive edge over traditional sensors. In the years to come, the acoustic wave sensor market may also experience growth due to technological advancements that boost demand, particularly in the medical and consumer electronics sectors, and the enormous potential for expansion in the automotive industry.
A notable growth driver of the market under study is the cheap production cost of SAW devices and components. SAW components offer high-performance levels and unique qualities not seen solely in electrical components. Although BAW devices can handle higher frequencies and power levels than SAW components, SAW components are frequently less expensive. The SAW sensors can be used as disposable because of their tiny size and low cost, which are made possible by the lack of batteries and batch manufacturing. New conductive printing technologies have also made it possible to produce custom SAW devices more quickly and affordably, drawing additional end users into the industry under study. Businesses also utilize piezoelectric on-insulator (POI) substrates to create low-cost products. For instance, Qualcomm claims that its ultra saw RF Filter Technology outperforms rival filter technology while costing substantially less. A SAW filter on POI has a minor loss and is less expensive to produce than a SAW filter on bulk material. By utilizing low-cost production of custom SAW devices, more and more businesses are creating SAW devices for innovative sensing applications.
Surface acoustic wave (SAW) technology enables the integration of signal processing and sensor functionalities inside a single product. However, SAW sensors have had to deal with operational issues like poor stability and dependability, hampered their adoption rate. The restriction prevents the widespread adoption of these passive devices because all required fields of the SAW sensor require operation across a more expansive reading range. When the reply signal strength at the reader becomes insufficient for accurate recognition and identification, the SAW-based sensor system experiences its main restriction.
The rise and popularity of SAW sensors across various applications are primarily attributed to their wireless and passive characteristics. These qualities also contribute to these sensors' small size and ease of use. As more and more industries adopt wireless technologies, the need for wireless applications has increased tremendously in recent years. They have acquired market share because of their cheap manufacturing costs, ability to be utilized as passive sensors, and ability to work wirelessly. One key contributing aspect to this is the development of RF communication.
SAW devices can be employed in sophisticated RF communication techniques to improve RF communication. SAW devices have been modulated in various ways, including orthogonal frequency coding and frequency-modulated continuous wave. Due to trends like the Internet of Things, the power transmission in the passive wireless SAW-based antenna sensor system has also received market traction (IoT). IoT is already impacting home automation and energy management systems because many IoT sensors are still installed in distant areas without easy access to power outlets, forcing them to operate on batteries.
The global surface acoustic wave sensors market is segmented by sensing type and end-user industries.
Based on sensing type, the global surface acoustic wave sensors market is bifurcated into pressure sensors, torque sensors, temperature sensors, humidity sensors, chemical sensors, and other sensors.
The pressure sensors segment is the highest contributor to the market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 9.26% during the forecast period. A pressure sensor is a device made up of a sensitive element that uses various working principles to identify the pressure applied to the sensor and other components that turn this information into an output signal. Due to the expanding applications across numerous industries, including oil and gas, aerospace, automotive, healthcare, consumer goods, and industrial, these sensors have experienced tremendous expansion over the years.
The market is anticipated to be driven by the increasing use of surface acoustic wave pressure sensors for permanent sound monitoring systems in the oil and gas industry, which have supplanted quartz crystals and fiber optics as the primary downhole pressure gauge materials. A tire pressure monitoring system for cars can use these pressure sensors. This type of sensor benefits from a SAW's ability to operate wirelessly without a battery. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TMPS) can be stimulated by signals of various frequencies using a one-port SAW resonator and antenna, and it can then receive a response from the SAW.
Humidity sensors come in various shapes and capacities and are increasingly used in mobile devices. Other humidity sensors are integrated into larger embedded systems (such as air quality monitoring systems). SAW humidity sensors are also used in the manufacturing, HVAC, automotive, agriculture, meteorology, and agricultural industries. When choosing a humidity sensor, significant factors are mass loading, acoustoelectric effects, and viscoelastic effects. SAW sensors with an elastic hygroscopic polymer covering are increasingly popular for measuring humidity. Another material that is quickly becoming popular for the sensitive layer of the SAW humidity sensor is graphene oxide. These humidity sensors have a quick response time of around 8.3 seconds and a quick recovery time of about 4.8 seconds. They can offer good reversibility, outstanding short-term repeatability, and stability. Some of their applications include integrated relative humidity (RH) detection devices with a small form factor based on SAW sensors.
Based on end-user industries, the global surface acoustic wave sensors market is bifurcated into automotive, aerospace and defense, consumer electronics, healthcare, industrial, and other end-user industries.
The consumer electronics segment owns the highest market and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 10.37% during the forecast period. Consumer electronics has historically been a significant investor in and user of SAW sensors, which has considerably impacted the advancement of SAW sensors and devices. In many consumer and communication applications, RF filters have significantly benefited from using SAW sensors. SAW devices, for instance, have a relatively straightforward design. The cost of sensor materials has decreased over the past three decades due to the widespread use of SAW filters in the smartphone sector. Acoustic wave filters, commonly SAW devices, are produced in more than one billion units annually, primarily for cell phones. The SAW devices serve as band-pass filters in the transceiver circuitry's RF and intermediate-frequency parts. Most touchscreen input on smartphones and personal digital assistants uses this technology.
Applications that use the extraordinary sensitivity of SAW devices to surface perturbation include engine coolant temperature control, outside air temperature management, cylinder heat temperature management, and dangerous chemical vapor sensing. If these are coated with a substance that selectively adsorbs molecules from the air, SAW devices can also monitor/sense gases and organic solvents. Industrial robotics' expanding use will also present market vendors with prospects for future expansion. The advantages of SAW sensors have recently attracted the attention of the renewable energy industries. Measurements of pressure, torque, and temperature are essential in the never-ending quest for adequate renewable energy and industrial applications.
The global surface acoustic wave sensors market is bifurcated into four regions: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
Asia-Pacific is the most significant revenue contributor and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.06% during the forecast period. Due to its dominance in the worldwide semiconductor manufacturing business, the Asia-Pacific region is predicted to have significant growth during the projection period. In addition, the region is a major producer of innovative electronic gadgets, electric vehicles, and consumer electronics globally, which makes it a large consumer of SAW sensors globally. Due to increased industrialization and the deployment of sensor technologies to produce precise sensing solutions, the area is expanding in the acoustic industry. Chinese vendors, who dominate the regional SAW market, primarily use cost-effective SAW solutions to gain a competitive edge.
In contrast, American suppliers tend to favor cutting-edge products. Haoda Electronics Co. Ltd., situated in China, has received funding from Hubble. IF SAW filters, SAW resonators, duplexers, and other RF filters are among the goods produced by Haoda Electronics. Mobile phones, communication base stations, automotive electronics, and other RF communication industries have all seen significant growth in the use of the company's products in recent years.
North America is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.39% during the forecast period. Due to the expanding regional demand for and manufacture of acoustic wave sensors, the North American area is one of the leading inventors and investors in the global SWA sensor industry. The use of SAW sensors in the region is growing due to the end-user industry's increased investments in cutting-edge technologies and the adoption of affordable components. Additionally, most key worldwide market suppliers are situated in the US, giving the area an advantage in the market under study. Additionally, most of these local vendors are far ahead of their international rivals in product innovation and technological advancement, aiding the growth of the regional and global markets. Surface and acoustic wave sensors have a significant global market in the United States. The integrated nucleic acid amplification system for the Optikus handheld diagnostic gadget from Autonomous Medical Devices Incorporated (AMDI) has been developed by US-based Sandia National Laboratories. They created a set of loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) primers for SARS-CoV-2 as part of this endeavor, and they then showed amplification on the SAW sensor.
Europe's leadership in producing modern automobiles and electric vehicles is an important aspect influencing the development of acoustic sensors in the region. By 2030, sales of autonomous vehicles are projected to account for 25% of all sales worldwide, according to digital car research. EV sales rose by 40–43% in 2019, the fastest rate since 2016. Allies and partners in Europe are also bolstering their defenses and spending more heavily on cutting-edge military hardware to improve their EW systems. Other than the leading nations, countries like Norway, Sweden, and Finland are investing more in electronic warfare. Developing wireless surface acoustic wave sensors for high operating temperature conditions is the focus of the bilateral Russian-European SAWHOT project. The growth of biosensors in the region has also been aided by recent developments in biological techniques and sensing equipment by European vendors, which have seen strong adoption in many applications in Europe's civil and defense sectors.
Latin America's expanding 5G rollout is anticipated to impact the market's growth. Claro Brasil announced in August 2020 that it had partnered with Ericsson to roll out the first 5G network in Latin America using Ericsson's technology for dynamic spectrum sharing. In So Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, 12 localities in Brazil will initially receive 5G connectivity. The GCC nations—Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates—have led the Middle Eastern area in the deployment of 5G networks. Over the following two years, it is anticipated that nations like Oman, Lebanon, Egypt, and Turkey will spearhead the region's next wave of 5G development. The regulators in these nations have already auctioned off the 5G spectrum or are about to do so. Mobile network providers also either install 5G networks.
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