The global market for thin and ultrathin films was valued at nearly $9.3 billion in 2011 and is expected to increase to $14.9 billion in 2016, a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10%, according to “Global Markets, Technologies and Materials for Thin and Ultrathin Films,” a new report from BCC Research.

The ultrathin film material market can be broken down into two main segments: chemical and physical processes. The chemical processes segment accounted for nearly $5.1 billion in 2011 and is expected to increase at a CAGR of 7.8% to reach $7.4 billion in 2016. The physical processes segment represented nearly $4.2 billion in 2011 and is expected to increase at a CAGR of 12.3% to reach nearly $7.5 billion in 2016.

The global market for thin film technologies (including equipment, materials and services) is currently valued at more than $50 billion and continues to grow. Ongoing miniaturization in the semiconductor industry also affects other sectors. As a result, there is a continuous effort to create components and products that are smaller, thinner, lighter, and, for certain applications, flexible. New developments in nanotechnology also are contributing to advances in materials and fabrication methods for producing very thin films, that is, those films of less than 30 nanometers or those with a thickness measured in atoms.

There are various types of thin materials, and these materials can be deposited by a variety of physical or chemical methods. Thin film materials find application in the fabrication process of numerous devices within several industrial sectors, including electronics, optoelectronics, mechanical/chemical, energy, optical coatings, life science, and decorative coatings.

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