Erbium oxide is a water insoluble oxide of transition metal erbium. The metal is part of rare earth metal group. It is highly hygroscopic and can absorb carbon dioxide from the environment. Erbium is produced from xenotime and euxenite minerals. Erbium oxide posse’s excellent electrical, photoluminescence and optical properties, hence it has varied applications. The applications of erbium oxide include electronics, optics, bio-imaging, dermatology, dentistry and semiconductors.
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Growing demand for erbium oxide from the display panel industry is expected to drive the market. Due to erbium oxide’s optical and electrical properties, it is primarily used in display monitors such as LEDs and LCDs. Burgeoning consumer electronic industry globally is fueling the demand for display panel, which in turn expected to drive the erbium oxide market. Internet of things is an upcoming trend in the developed world of which display panels form the indispensable element. Furthermore, growth in smartphone and phablet adoption in developing countries is driving display panel industry. Additionally, growth in the semiconductor industry due to increasing consumer and industrial electronics is expected to fuel the erbium oxide market. Erbium oxide is used as the up-conversion material in capacitors and semiconductor transistors. Furthermore, growing permanent magnet industry is expected to drive the erbium oxide market. The compound can be paramagnetic, anti-ferromagnetic and ferromagnetic depending on the temperature. End-use industries such as automotive, medical, aerospace and defense are driving permanent magnet industry. Erbium oxide’s properties changes magnetic properties according to temperature expand its application area due to customization it offers.
However, highly toxic nature of erbium is expected to hamper the market growth. Erbium oxide, when injected, inhaled or taken orally can have harmful effects on human health. The symptoms of erbium oxide toxicity could be ataxia, writhing, arched back, labored respiration and sedation. Erbium oxide is graded as irritant by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and can cause serious skin and eye irritation. Furthermore, high raw material cost is anticipated to hamper the erbium oxide market. Supply of the erbium is highly dependent on mining activities in regions where reserves are abundant. Any political or economic disruptions in these regions can cause supply issues and hence affect the market growth.
Development of new applications of erbium oxide nanoparticles are expected to provide immense opportunities for the players in the market. These nanoparticles can be used in display monitors and bio-imaging. Additionally, recycling of erbium oxide from E-waste is expected to be an important opportunity in the next few years.
Asia Pacific emerged as the largest market for erbium oxide in terms of production and consumption. China is the hub for major rare earth materials in terms of production due presence of large amount of reserves available. In terms of consumption, China holds large share of majority of the end-use industries such as automotive, electronics and permanent magnet industries. The U.S., India, Australia and Russia follow the China in terms of reserve capacity. North America followed the Asia Pacific in terms of the consumption of erbium oxide. The demand for erbium oxide from Europe is expected to decline due to human health related regulations and shift of electronics industry to China.
Global erbium oxide market is moderately consolidated with major dominating the local market. Key players in erbium oxide market include Epsi Metals, Arafura Resources, Avalon Rare Metals Inc., Alkane Resources Ltd., China Rare Earth Holding Limited, Great Western Minierals Group Ltd., Indian Rare Earths Limited, Frontier Rare Earths Ltd., Molycorp and Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare Eartch Hi-Tech Co.