The techniques considered in molecular spectroscopy include many different methods for determining the chemical composition of a sample or related information based on similar methods, such as color measurement. Most of the techniques involve spectroscopy that probes the chemical bonds in the molecules of the sample, although an important counterexample is nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), which is based on the response of the individual atomic nuclei to magnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation.
In total, demand for these instruments approached $4 billion in 2016, and will easily surpass that amount in 2017, with estimated growth of 4.9% for the year. Many of these instruments are broadly used in laboratories in various end-user industries, with applications ranging the full gamut from research to quality control and environmental testing, helping keep the total market in a growth mode.
Raman spectroscopy remains a very vibrant part of this market. Although it is still one of the smaller segments, the growth potential in Raman is excellent, estimated at 8.5% for 2017, driven primarily by pharmaceutical-related applications, for which the technology continues to be rapidly adopted for applications from the loading dock to the research lab. The Raman imaging and microscopy market is also experiencing growth, with more of an emphasis on basic research applications. Thermo Fisher Scientific, HORIBA and Bruker are the top vendors in Raman spectroscopy.
Infrared (IR) and near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy are also expected to achieve robust growth for the year. Both technologies have a wide application base, and are good all-purpose tools, with particular strengths in pharmaceutical and polymer applications. NIR is more associated with food analysis but also has a broad reach. Thermo Fisher and PerkinElmer are strong in both of these markets, with PerkinElmer advancing somewhat in share due to its acquisition of Perten Instruments (see IBO 11/30/14). Despite that gain, FOSS remains the leader in NIR.
Danaher is also a major competitor in the molecular spectroscopy market, with Hach (UV-Vis) and X-Rite (Color Measurement) contributing. In total, the Danaher companies have a 9% share of the market, ranking third. Other major vendors in this space include broad-based suppliers like Agilent Technologies, as well as more focused suppliers such as JEOL, Konica Minolta, ATAGO, Hanna Instruments and Sentech.