A new research report from IDTechEx, Metamaterials Markets 2023-2043: Optical and Radio-Frequency, analyses the technology and markets for both classes of electromagnetic metamaterials. Defined as materials that utilise periodic structures to achieve potentially revolutionary capabilities, metamaterials have drawn much attention due to their applications across telecommunications, consumer electronics, and aerospace. With metamaterial technology for several major applications finally reaching maturity, the commercial market for both radio-frequency and optical metamaterials is set for a rapid expansion over the coming years.
Drawing on 16 company profiles, this report both outlines the underlying technology and explores major potential markets across the electromagnetic spectrum. These range from optical applications such as lidar beam steering and smartphone lenses to RF and micro-wave regions for radar beamforming and medical sensing. The report analyses these markets in detail, assessing the requirements of each application and carrying out case studies of existing players. Our detailed segmentation provides 33 distinct forecast lines from 2023 to 2043, providing a clear picture of each application’s status and market potential. Forecasts are expressed by the market revenue, installed surface area, and number of units sold, says Brendan Beh, technology analyst at IDTechEx.
A particularly significant emergent application of electromagnetic metamaterials is in telecommunications. mmWave 5G and, ultimately, 6G communications networks promise faster internet speeds but are limited by high signal attenuation. Reconfigurable intelligent surfaces (RIS) based on metamaterials offer a solution, promising wide area coverage at low energy consumption. RIS reflect and potentially even direct signals directly to end users, increasing signal range and strength. Metamaterial-based coatings may also be integrated with windows to reflect beams around obstacles for better signal coverage in urban areas or to improve signal transmission for better indoor signal coverage.
Today, the technology for RIS remains in developmental stages and is estimated to exist around Technological Readiness Levels (TRL) of around six to seven. This, paired with a relatively immature market, means commercialisation is still some time away. However, the potential market is large and RIS provide clear value to high-frequency telecommunications, which is expected to justify significant uptake.
Major developments are also occurring at the other end of the frequency spectrum, with metamaterial lenses (metalenses) beginning commercialisation. These offer the potential for significantly smaller form factors than conventional lenses while retaining and even improving optical performance space constrained smartphones are a substantial target market. Compatibility with conventional semiconductor manufacturing techniques further ensures scalability, with simplified supply chains potentially reducing costs.
IDTechEx’s new report “Metamaterials Markets 2023-2043: Optical and Radio-Frequency” answers multiple key questions, including:
- What are the key emergent and potential applications for electromagnetic metamaterials?
- What are suitable materials and manufacturing techniques for each application?
- How do metamaterials compare with incumbent technologies in certain established markets, and which incumbents are metamaterials expected to supplement?
- What are the potential opportunities for metamaterials developers?
- What are the technological and market readiness of metamaterials for each application?
- Who are the key players involved in the metamaterials market?
- What are the barriers to entry to the metamaterials market?
Follow us and Comment on Twitter @TheEE_io