Electron microscopes are widely employed in laboratories worldwide to investigate structures too small to see with optical microscopes alone. Current trends are influencing the direction and growth of the market for electron microscopes, especially in the life sciences sector.
Application Areas of the Electron Microscopy Market
Electron microscopes are becoming a ubiquitous research tool in R&D laboratories and companies worldwide due to their superior imaging capabilities of structures at the nanoscale and microscale. They can help researchers see beyond the limits imposed by the wavelength of visible light.
These powerful analytical tools have seen widespread application in a number of industrial sectors, chiefly the life science sector, nanotechnology industry, electronics industry, and materials science sectors. Specific application fields include virology, cancer research, semiconductor research, and pollution monitoring.
In materials science, electron microscopes, usually scanning electron microscopes (SEMs,) are used for research and quality control. Electron microscopy is a central technology in modern materials science, making investigations into advanced materials such as nanofibers and nanotubes possible.
In semiconductor research, electron microscopes provide accurate and reliable topographical information, which is essential for semiconductor research to avoid imperfections that can lead to poor performance. Furthermore, SEMs are used in the rational design and fabrication of advanced microchips.
Forensic investigations such as gunshot residue analysis, ballistics comparison, forgery detection, fiber analysis, and handwriting analysis have seen significant advances due to the use of SEMs and TEMs in forensics laboratories worldwide. The field has provided crucial evidence in criminal and civil trials.
In the life science, biomedical, and pharmaceutical industries, SEMs are widely employed to detect new pathogens, test vaccines and new drugs, investigate genetic conditions, and measure the effect of climate change and environmental and artificial stresses on organisms.
Hot Topics in the Electron Microscopy Market
Advances in nanotechnology over the past decade or two have consequently influenced the development of the electron microscopy sector, as the two fields are intrinsically linked.
New detectors, algorithms, and data acquisition strategies have helped to solve key issues such as radiation damage in protein molecules, for instance. These advances have led to breakthroughs in the resolution of protein structures, with significant benefits for fields such as the life sciences.
AI is a hot-button topic in many different industries, becoming an important but controversial field with numerous distinct challenges. However, despite its challenges, AI is emerging as a potentially highly beneficial technology in scientific research, with scientists investigating its application in electron microscopy.
Image Credit: Elizaveta Galitckaia/Shutterstock.com
AI can be used to resolve a decades-old problem in electron microscopy: phase information retrieval. A research group led by Mathew Cherukara have explored the use of neural networks to provide in-depth phase information. These methods have the potential to improve the sensitivity and resolution of current technologies.
Machine learning and AI algorithms have enabled more rational detection and analysis at multiple stages of experiments involving the use of electron microscopes, overcoming human limitations, and benefitting multiple industries, from pharmaceuticals to semiconductors.
Another hot topic in electron microscopy at the moment is cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM,) a technique that can investigate short-lived molecular states at timescales of only a few milliseconds. This emerging technology aids the study of biological structures in previously inaccessible physiological environments.
Current Global Electron Microscopy Market
The value of the global electron microscopy market in 2022 was $5.94 billion, with a predicted value of $14.06 billion by 2032. This represents a CAGR of 9% over the next decade.
This growth has been driven largely by the life science segment, with this sector responsible for a 26% revenue share of the global market in 2022. Geographically, North America is the main market for electron microscopy, generating a revenue share in the same year of over 36%.
Transmission electron microscopes (TEMs) dominate the global electron microscopy market, with SEMs being popular with small- to medium-sized companies and institutes.
Key players in the market include DME, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Leica Microsystems, Olympus Corp., Hitachi High Technologies Corp., JEOL Ltd., and Nikon Corp. Strong growth in the US market has been made possible through collaboration and the presence of many scientific facilities and educational institutions.
In the Asia Pacific market, increasing government investment in the form of grants and a rising demand for skinny wafers for semiconductor research have played a key role in the growth of this important market.
Key drivers behind market dynamics in the electron microscopy sector currently are rising scientific research and the development of microscopes with higher resolving and refining power. However, high production cost is a key bottleneck, with prices reaching prohibitive levels (up to $2 million) for SMEs, laboratories, and hospitals.
Future Directions for the Electron Microscopy Market
Advances in technology and increased scientific research will provide scientists with the tools needed to analyze complex nanoscale structures, enhancing research in critical areas such as the life sciences, semiconductor research, and materials science.
One potential future direction involves the increasingly intimate connection between electron microscopy, artificial intelligence, and data science. Electron microscopy must take advantage of the benefits of these emerging and disruptive technologies to realize its full potential.
Mitra Taheri from John Hopkin’s University has recommended an integrated approach that completely rethinks current working methods in the field of electron microscopy. This approach would employ AI and machine learning at every step in the workflow of electron microscopy experiments.
Machine learning and AI would help scientists better manage and understand data workflow, which is especially important as the industry is reaching the point of data oversaturation, according to Taheri.
Electron microscopy is a key analytical technology in laboratories worldwide that has birthed entire industries, especially in the materials science and electronics sectors due to its ability to resolve structures beyond the limits of visible light.
With strong growth predicted over the next decade, the electron microscopy market looks likely to integrate several revolutionary technologies in the coming years, further improving data retrieval and helping researchers peel back the layers of the natural and artificial world and revealing their secrets even more.
Raman Spectroscopy Market Trends: A Worldwide Overview
References and Further Reading
Precedence Research (2023) Electron Microscopy Market Report [online] precedenceresearch.com. Available at:
Koka, J (2021) Artificial Intelligence magnifies the utility of electron microscopes [online] Argonne National Laboratory. Available at:
Weldon, A (2021) The future of electron microscopy [online] John Hopkins University. Available at:
Li Ling, W. et al. (2023) Editorial: Recent advances and challenges in electron microscopy characterizations of radiation-sensitive nanoparticles Front. Chem. 11 [online] frontiersin.org. Available at:
Guaita, M., Watters, S.C. & Loerch, S (2022) Recent advances and current trends in cryo-electron microscopy Current Opinion in Structural Biology 77: 102484 [online] sciencedirect.com. Available at: