Metamaterials are artificial materials with properties derived from their constituent materials and geometrical arrangement of those materials. Metamaterials have patterns in their structure that are smaller than the wavelength of waves with which they are designed to interact. Increase in mobile wireless communication services, rise in preference for higher efficient solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and funds provided to potential metamaterial manufacturers by venture capital firms is likely to drive demand for metamaterials. However, technical challenges in high volume fabrication of metamaterials and lack of commercial awareness may hamper market growth.
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In terms of revenue, radio & microwave frequency electromagnetic metamaterials segment accounted for approximately 50% share of the global metamaterials technologies market in 2013. The segment is expected to expand at a relatively rapid pace, due to the potential usage of these metamaterials in communication & radar, navigation and spectroscopy applications. Terahertz metamaterials interact at terahertz frequencies and are used in medical diagnostics or security screening applications. Photonic metamaterials are widely used metamaterials that are designed to interact at visible wavelengths. These are used in applications such as beam steerers and microwave couplers. Acoustic metamaterials are artificial structures with acoustic properties. Acoustic metamaterials are anticipated to be used in various applications such as home audio systems; ultra-slim, efficient, soundproofing coatings, and vibration dampers. Researchers are still studying other metamaterials such as infrared and ultraviolet metamaterials for their characteristics and features.
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Metamaterials can be potentially used in telecommunication, aviation, defense and industrial sectors. Key application areas include communication & radar, imaging (medical & industrial), solar, acoustic devices, seismic protection and microwave cloaking devices. In terms of revenue, communication & radar was the largest and fastest growing segment of the global metamaterials technologies market, accounting for over 60% share in 2013. Growth in mobile wireless communication services coupled with funding provided to companies manufacturing metamaterial antennas is estimated to drive demand for metamaterials in the global telecommunication industry in the next six years. Metamaterial antennas are lightweight and compact and support a wide spectrum of frequencies. These antennas also have ultra-fast reconfiguration and superior self-alignment as compared to conventional antennas.
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North America was the largest and fastest growing market, constituting over 55% of the revenue share in 2013. Consumer, industrial and defense applications are projected to grow significantly in North America in the near future. The metamaterials technologies market in North America is likely to expand at a rapid rate due to substantial investments by venture capital firms and grants provided by government agencies to startup metamaterial companies. The metamaterials technologies market in Europe is also expected to grow substantially due to promotion and funding of research projects such as METAMORPHOSE (Metamaterials Organised for Radio, Millimeter Wave and Photonic Superlattice Engineering) by the European Commission. Demand for metamaterials is expected to increase in emerging economies such as China and India and developed economies such as Japan and Singapore in Asia Pacific in the near future. The metamaterials technologies market in RoW is estimated to expand noticeably in the next few years, due to rising demand for metamaterials in Latin America.
The market is highly fragmented in nature; it is dominated by startup metamaterial companies based in North America. Key players in the market include Kymeta Corporation, Metamaterial Technologies Inc (MTI), Metamagnetics Inc., Echodyne Corporation, Evolv Technology, Medical Wireless Sensing Ltd (MediWise), Applied EM Inc, Alight Technologies ApS and Fractal Antenna Systems, Inc. (FRACTAL).
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