The global focused ion beam market witnesses the prominence of a few players, namely Hitachi High Technologies Corp., Carl Zeiss AG, FEI, and JEOL Ltd. In 2015, these companies collectively held 67.1% of the market pointing a largely consolidated vendor landscape. Top players are engaged in acquisition and partnership with small companies in the same line of business to expand their business operations. Collaborations between companies will be further leveraged for commercialization of products in untapped regions.
Product innovation to gain competitive advantage is also what savvy players in this market are engaged in. Leading companies are carrying out aggressive R&D to develop newer applications of focused ion beam systems in metallurgy and material science. For example, in 2015, FEI introduced a dual-beam plasma focused ion beam (PFIB) for electrical failure analysis and electrical fault isolation.
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As per estimates of a market study by Transparency Market Research (TMR), the global focused ion beam market is anticipated to be worth US$528.0 mn vis-à-vis revenue by the end of 2024 at a CAGR of 7.1% between 2017 and 2024. The demand in the market translated into a revenue of US$325.4 mn in 2017. Of the key segments based on ion source, gallium displays the leading demand in the overall market due to its favorable physical properties. This is followed by the demand for iridium. Among the various application segments of the focused ion beam market, sample preparation is the most attractive wherein focused ion beam is largely used in the education sector. Region-wise, powered by the U.S., North America is anticipated to remain the most lucrative market for focused ion beam over the forecast period.
Extensive Use for Failure Analysis of Equipment a Boon for Market
Focused ion beam equipment since its inception two decades ago has been predominantly used in the microelectronics sector. With aggressive R&D carried out by product manufacturers, focused ion beam systems are increasingly finding application in other fields such as material sciences. This has created an explosion of demand for focused ion beam instruments among material science businesses. Circuit editing, micro structural analysis, and prototype and nano machining are the areas in material sciences where focused ion beam is used.
In addition, focused ion beam instruments are anticipated to find monumental use in medical sciences. Focused ion beam microscopy can enable a more accurate sample preparation, states a TMR analyst.
Apart from this, rising demand for failure analysis equipment is boosting the focused ion beam market. Focused ion beam systems are extensively used in the semiconductor industry to diagnose the cause of failure of equipment. Embedded and semiconductor industries use focused ion beam systems during the development of integrated circuits in order to determine defects at the most basic level, which helps reduce chances of rejection of finished products. Focused ion beam equipment is used to identify the primary cause of failure and prevent its recurrence.
Enormous Demand for Fabrication of Micro Devices to Offset Cost Constraint
On the downside, high cost of focused ion beam systems is limiting their adoption. This restraint has severely hampered the rate of adoption of focused ion beam systems for failure analysis. Moreover, high costs of focused ion beam and dual-focused ion beam technologies have been reasons market players have been unable to penetrate developing economies in Asia Pacific and Latin America.
Nevertheless, growth in demand for fabrication of nano or micro-scale devices for electronics and electrical systems will provide wealth of opportunities to the focused ion beam market, adds the analyst.