ANALYSIS & OPINION
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YouTube drives the laser crystals market

Demanding websites like YouTube and MySpace have been driving the market for laser crystals, a new study suggests. The Freedonia Group, which runs independent surveys, found a 5 per cent increase in profit in this area since 2001.

It is thought the greater demand for high bandwidth internet has created a bigger, and more profitable market for laser crystals, and is helping the industry to recover from the crash of the telecommunications market in the early 2000s.

‘It took a couple of years to sort out, but this has provided a kick start for the fibre optics industry,’ Ned Zimmerman, an industry analyst who worked on the report, told electrooptics.com. ‘It’s a continuous driver for the laser industry. In science, the growth has not been quite so strong, but the market is becoming much more global.’

In a different area, crystals used in the actual optics and lenses of laser systems have equally experienced a growth in the market, although this is not necessarily set to continue for the future. Most of the increased demand came from post-9/11 security concerns, where they were used in military and defence applications.

‘Prior to 9/11, the market was at a very low level, so it has increased very rapidly. Although the market will be healthy, the same kind of increase is not expected for the future.’

Sapphire and Silicon Carbide crystals used as substrates for LEDs are also much more in demand, the study suggests, as the illumination is proving to be an increasingly attractive alternative to traditional light sources. However, this growth too is not expected in the future, as reduced, competitive prices will reduce the value of the greater numbers produced.

Zimmerman also believes there will be greater competition from countries outside the US, such a Taiwan, something Freedonia hopes to investigate in the future, if this report proves to be popular.

The report can be obtained from www.freedoniagroup.com

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