According to the findings of a recently published research report by Transparency Market Research (TMR), the global lithium tantalate crystal market is progressively gaining sheen by getting a hold of the traditional applications of quartz and lithium niobate. Lithium tantalate crystals will take over the telecommunication world due to the ever-growing need for increased bandwidth to facilitate cloud computing, data transfer, and data storage.
Growth will also unfold from the pronounced trend of using lithium tantalate crystals in acoustic wave devices for the manufacturing of electrical components. Zoomed in focus towards energy harvesting is likely to spectate high reliance on lithium tantalate crystals. However, it may be interesting to know that, despite the first synthesizing of lithium tantalate crystals being done in Russia, Asia Pacific will hold on to a massive slice of the market share, with the high demand for these crystals in numerous applications in the electronics and telecommunication industry.
Though the lithium tantalate crystal market holds a steady growth potential, the complex production process incurring high costs is likely to pose as a challenge. All in all, the lithium tantalate crystal market is all set to record a compound annual growth rate of 5.5% during the forecast period of 2019-2027, with the telecommunication industry being the key revenue pocket for this market.
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What Sets Lithium Tantalate Crystals Apart from the Pack
While quartz has been the default crystal for the optical, telecommunication, semiconductor, construction, and electronics industries for a long time, growing focus on lithium tantalate crystals can be highly attributed to their distinguishing characteristics. When compared to quartz, lithium tantalate crystals possess larger electro-mechanical coupling, as they exhibit useful cuts for longitudinal and shear wave mode transducers. Since the telecommunication industry demands broad bandwidth, lithium tantalate crystals are gaining the attention of manufacturers for the development of acoustic resonator filters.
Another crystal exhibiting near-LiTaO3-like properties is lithium niobate (LiNbO3). Both, lithium tantalate crystals and lithium niobate crystals are developed using the Czochralski method for yielding large and high-quality single crystals. However, lithium tantalate crystals are fast replacing lithium niobate crystals, in light of their unique electro-optical, pyroelectric, and piezoelectric properties with a high optical damage threshold. This makes LiTaO3 highly suitable for the development of surface acoustic wave (SAW) substrates, optical waveguides, pyroelectric detectors, and electro-optical modulators, among others.
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Manufacturers in the electronics and telecommunication industries are striving to position their products in prominent light, with speedy transmission, storage, and receiving of data being the key attractive proposition. As the need for integrating a better non-linear optical material with higher efficiency in electronic circuits and transmission channels increases, the lithium tantalate crystal industry is likely to be at the center of these innovative devices. However, a significant share of the market will be routed from the growing applications of surface acoustic wave (SAW) devices.
Currently, acoustic wave devices account for ~ 55% share of lithium tantalate crystal sales, as manufacturers of consumer electronics seek materials with versatile characteristics for fluid measurements, geophysics, televisions, laptops, and similar smart devices. As the effectiveness of optical communication gains traction, lithium tantalate crystals are exploited as substrates for the development of electro-optical devices such as directional couplers, scanners, modulators, Q switches, and spatial light modulators. The demand for electro-optical devices is likely to increase exponentially, approaching a lucrative juncture for the lithium crystal devices market during the forecast period of 2019-2027.a