Rising Cost of Transparent Ceramics Leads to Development of Suitable Alternatives

Published Date : Jan 18, 2016

Transparent ceramics have emerged as a promising alternative to single-crystal technologies and traditional glass technologies across various application fields such as infrared domes and high-energy radiation detection. Emergence of new technologies has led to usage of transparent ceramics for applications such as inertial confinement nuclear fusion and automobile ignition. Optoelectronics and optics has emerged as the most important application segment in the global transparent ceramics market. For fabricating solid state lasers, transparent ceramics are used as optical windows. Further, transparent ceramics are used for the production of bulb and lamp envelopes for commercial lighting products and vehicles. The potential application of transparent ceramics for developing lights and displays in LEDs will open new opportunities for the global transparent ceramics market in the coming years. The wide range of applications of transparent ceramics has boosted the growth of the market. 

However, the rising cost of transparent ceramics might restrain the growth of the global transparent ceramics market in the coming years. High cost of transparent ceramics has led researchers to find out suitable alternatives. In majority of smartphone screens, the touchscreen capability can be attributed to the transparent ceramic Indium Tin Oxide (ITO). ITO is applied on glass through physical vapour deposition to create a thin film that is both conductive and see through. However, extensive usage of this transparent ceramic has fuelled its price. This has negatively affected the overall cost of the technology. Researchers at the Penn State Materials Research Institute have found a viable cheaper alternative to ITO. They have developed a new group of materials called correlated metals that display conductivity as well as high optical transparency. Examples of such correlated metals are calcium vanadate and strontium vanadate. Cheaper than transparent ceramics, these correlated metals have the potential to drive down the high price of touchscreen technology.