Global Statistics Representing Zinc Selenide Market Scenario
Zinc selenide (ZnSe) is a light-yellow or solid bright yellow inorganic compound. It is an intrinsic semiconductor and a preferred material for lenses, windows, output couplers, and beam expanders owing to its low absorption at infrared wavelengths and visible transmission. ZnSe rarely occurs in nature and is typically produced by a reaction between zinc vapor and H2Se (hydrogen selenide) gas. The procedure of production differs on the basis of the final output required; for instance, ZnSe lens production differs from ZnSe thin-film production.
The Zinc Selenide Market is Expected to Grow in Tandem With the Adoption of CO2 Lasers
Over the years, the cost of lasers has decreased and capabilities have increased significantly. In particular, the cost of fiber lasers has decreased. With increasing performance and decreasing cost, the efficiency of CO2 lasers has increased significantly. CO2 lasers are used in multiple industries for multiple functions, such as drilling, cutting, and carving. ZnSe-based lenses and windows are used in CO2 lasers. With the increasing efficiency of CO2 lasers, manufacturers are expected to rapidly adopt CO2 lasers, which, in turn, is expected to drive the growth of the zinc selenide market during the forecast period.
Advancements in Robotics to Drive Demand for CO2 Lasers & Subsequently Propel Market Growth
Many industrial manufacturers use CO2 lasers in manufacturing processes. Robotics allows companies to automate industrial manufacturing processes. Robots usually achieve higher precision in completing repetitive processes, and they usually take less time to complete tasks compared to human operators.
With advancements in robotics, the efficiency of automated cutting, drilling, or carving functions has increased significantly. Especially in welding and cutting technology, the difference between the efficiency of a human operator cutting or wielding with CO2 lasers as compared to a robot cutting or wielding with CO2 lasers is vast. Thus, many manufacturers benefit from advancements in robotics by integrating robotics with laser processing. An increasing number of manufacturers are expected to increasingly adopt ZnSe-based CO2 laser precision cutting, drilling, marking, or craving procedures in the near future. As the automotive manufacturing industry is more familiar with robots, many manufacturers are expected to increasingly automate their laser processing by integrating it with robotics. Advancement in robotics is expected to drive the demand for CO2 lasers, thereby increasing the demand for ZnSe during the forecast period.
High Cost & Material Handling Risks to Deter Adoption to an Extent
The high cost of ZnSe is expected to hamper the market growth. ZnSe is an expensive and structurally weak compound. While there are many other IR optic compounds such as Germanium, Silicon, ZnS (Cleartran), Magnesium Fluoride, Sapphire, Gallium Arsenide, CaF2, and BaF2, none of them pose a direct threat to the current market share of ZnSe due to its unique optical properties. Though it is unlikely that other IR materials will substitute ZnSe in laser optics, some functions of IR optics are carried out using other materials.
Those unable to afford laser cutting may opt for traditional methods of cutting instead of CO2 laser cutting, which could reduce the demand for CO2 lasers, thereby reducing the demand for ZnSe lenses and windows. The total cost of ZnSe rises even further if the risk involved in material handling is considered. ZnSe is susceptible to scratches and unsuitable for harsh environments. The operator needs to take extra precautions while handling ZnSe-based optic materials such as windows or lenses. The impact of this factor on the global zinc selenide market is expected to be low when we consider the unique properties of ZnSe.
Semiconductor Segment by Application
The semiconductors segment by application accounted for a value of USD 76.9 million in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 94.5 million growing at a CAGR of 3.0% during the forecast period. A key application of ZnSe in electronics includes the use of ZnSe-based diodes and thin films. Semiconductor laser diodes that are capable of emitting the small wavelength portion of the visible spectrum can be used in a number of applications such as optical or medical storage or laser TV projectors. ZnSe-based laser diodes are capable of providing such laser emission. ZnSe thin films are used in solar cells as a buffer layer. Usually, the chemical bath deposition (CBD) method is used to create a ZnSe layer as a buffer layer in solar cells. Materials used in the chemical deposition method to add a ZnSe layer in solar cells include zinc trioxonitrate (v) Zn(NO3)2 and selenium sulphite (SeSO3), sodium thiosulphate Na2S2O3, and NH3.
Automotive Segment by End-Use Industry
By end-use industry, the automotive industry holds a significant market share and is likely to maintain the growth trend throughout the forecast period. ZnSe-based Co2 laser systems have been in use in the automotive industry for many years. Initially, manufacturers started using Co2 lasers in welding applications related to heavy-duty vehicles; however, over the last decade, Co2 lasers in integration with advanced robotics have gained adoption in multiple precision processing applications. Co2 lasers are used in the automotive industry to design interior parts. Along with laser applications, ZnSe is also used in some automotive microsystems where infrared cameras/lasers or thermal imaging systems are used to detect obstacles. ZnSe lenses are often used in such infrared cameras or thermal imaging systems.
Europe Slated to Register a Significantly High CAGR During the Forecast Period, Second Only to Asia Pacific Region
Europe's zinc selenide market was valued at USD 53.7 million in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 64.7 million by 2025. Europe is pegged as the second-fastest-growing region in the global zinc selenide market. The regional automotive manufacturing sector is highly developed and many automotive manufacturers adopt a high level of automation in the manufacturing process. The use of advanced robotics and a high level of automation in the manufacturing process drives the demand for co2 lasers in the region.
Europe’s well-developed medical industry in this region is another driver for the regional zinc selenide market. Europe includes some of the most technologically-advanced militaries in the world. Many countries in the region have advanced arms manufacturing capabilities and are recognized as some of the largest exporters of arms. The demand for ZnSe in military applications significantly drives the market growth in Europe.
Some of the key players operating in the global zinc selenide market are II-VI Incorporated (The U.S.), Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. (Japan), EdgeTech Industries, LLC (The U.S.), Crystaltechno Ltd. (Russia), Alkor Technologies (Russia), Wavelength Opto -Electronic (Singapore), R’AIN Optics (Russia), Vital Materials Co. Limited (China), ALB Materials Inc. (The U.S.), Eksma Optics (Lithuania), and ULO Optics Ltd (The U.K.).
There is intense competition in the global zinc selenide market and key players are pursing product launch, product development, partnership, and collaboration strategies to stay ahead of the competition. Eksma Optics, a prominent market participant, can be a case in point here.
Market players are adopting expansion strategies — expanding their production capacities and expanding to other regions — to cater to a larger customer base; a couple of examples are mentioned below.
Zinc Selenide Market Segmentation