An excimer laser, or exciplex laser, is an ultraviolet form of laser. Excimer laser devices find application in eye surgery, production of microelectronic equipment, micromachining, and manufacturing of semiconductor based integrated circuits or chips. An excimer laser mainly consists of reactive gases such as fluorine or chlorine coupled with noble gases, including argon, krypton, and/or xenon. Unlike conventional lasers, laser action in an excimer laser arises from repulsive or dissociative ground state as opposed to being in an excited state.
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This is due to the fact that noble gases such as krypton and xenon are highly inactive and generally do not form chemical compounds. Nevertheless, when they are in an excited state (induced by a high energy electron beam or an electrical discharge), they can form momentarily bound molecules with themselves known as dimmers or with halogens such as fluorine or chlorine, known as complexes. The compound in its excited state can release its excess energy by undergoing stimulated or spontaneous emission, thereby giving rise to a strongly repulsive molecule in its ground state which dissociates into two unbound atoms on the order of picoseconds. This is the basic functioning of an excimer laser device.
The key industrial use of the excimer lasers is in microelectronic devices and equipment along with ultraviolet photolithography. Excimer lasers have significantly high power ultraviolet output which makes it very useful for surgeries. This is acting as a driving factor for the growth of the excimer laser devices market. Moreover, excimer lasers also find its application in research laboratory equipment. Most important applications of excimer lasers are photolithography for semiconductor chips, laser ablation, micro-structuring of transparent media, pulsed laser deposition, eye surgery, laser marking, psoriasis treatment and dye-laser pumping.
Rising research activities and technological advancements in the area of excimer lasers, some advanced and innovative lasers have been introduced in the market and they are likely to shape the market in the near future. Advanced excimer lasers predominantly offer a combination of high pulse energy and short pulse duration in the UV lengths generated. These attributes pool together to offer an exclusive photonics tool mainly used in LTPS or low temperature poly-Si annealing in FPD or flat panel displays, surface hardening in automotive sector, laser deposition in thin film manufacturing, and patterning in packaging markets.
Rising number of surgeries and high application areas of excimer lasers will drive the overall excimer laser devices market
The lifespan of an excimer laser is mainly limited by gas contamination, corrosion processes, dust produced by electric discharge, apart from high voltage electronics. These are some of the restraining factors that might affect the market negatively during the forecast period. However, varied application areas of excimer laser devices such as medicine, construction, and semiconductor is likely to encourage the growth of the excimer laser devices market during the forecast period.
In 2016, North America held the maximum share of the market. The U.K., Germany, France, and Italy are some of the other countries which have a significant share of the market. The increasing volume of surgical procedures across the globe is likely to drive the overall growth of the digital wound management devices market during the forecast period. Surgeries are conducted to manage various diseases including gastrointestinal diseases, cardiovascular diseases, spinal abnormalities, urological disorders, orthopedic deformities, and brain tumors. The significant growth in the number of surgeries, especially in the European countries will help in the growth of the excimer laser devices market in this region. In the Asia Pacific region, Japan, China, India, and South Korea are the leading market players. In South America region, Brazil and Argentina are likely to boost the excimer laser devices market in this region.
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Some of the major companies operating in the excimer laser devices market are Alcon, Inc., Coherent, Inc., NIDEK Co. Ltd., Wavelength Opto Electronic (S) Pte Ltd., Laser 2000 GmbH, AMS Technologies AG, Ziemer Opthalmic Systems AG, and Radiant Dyes Laser & Accessories GmbH.