Microscopy devices have paved the way for innovation in life science through their most potential feature — imaging minute details of any matter. Researchers are able to obtain images of neurons, synapses, cell structure and its processes of high quality using advanced microscopes. Microscopes are also used extensively in academic institutes for primary research. However, the demand for different types of microscopes varies based on the sample type and objective of study. For instance, optical microscopes are used for basic life science research in academic institutes, and private and public research laboratories. Additionally, price of a microscope plays an important role in determining demand, as emerging economies face funding issues. With improving technology, optical microscopes are being increasingly used for advanced life science research. Fluorescence and phase contrast microscopes are realizing their potential extensively in cell biology, pathology and toxicology studies. On the other hand, the use of electron and scanning probe microscopes is rapidly growing with the advancement in the research objectives.
The global life science microscopy devices market has been analyzed based on product type and geography. Three major types of microcopy devices are used in life science research: optical microscope, electron microscope and scanning probe microscope. Optical microscopes are extensively used in life science research because they cost less and address the primary objectives of researchers in academic institutes, and private and public research laboratories. The optical microscopes segment has been sub-segmented based on geography, applications and product type. Cell biology dominated the optical microscopes segment because of their light microscopy features that support cell biology research at minimal cost and effort over other life science applications. Stereo microscopes are the most commonly used optical microscopes in life science research across the world due to their low cost and the ability to generate three-dimensional perspective of the sample under study. However, demand for fluorescence microscopes is increasing rapidly, as staining techniques are being widely used in life science research. On the other hand, phase contrast microscopes are expected to replace fluorescence microscopes in the near future due to their ease of sample preparation and better image capturing features.
Electron microscopes offer high-resolution and magnification power up to 10 million times, which makes them appropriate for the visualization of three-dimensional structures of cells and tissues, determining the spatial arrangement of protein structures and the pathology of disease conditions. The electron microscopes segment has been sub-segmented into transmission electron microscope (TEM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The scanning electron microscope segment held the largest share of the global life science electron microscopy devices segment due to low cost and the capability to provide data on taxonomic and systemic parasite studies. However, the demand for transmission electron microscopes, which is an established technique used in cell biology applications, is increasing. Moreover, their use in neuroscience and biomedical engineering is growing rapidly, as researchers gain more interest in the study of brain activity.
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The scanning electron microscopes segment has been sub-segmented into atomic force microscope and scanning tunneling microscope. Ease in sample preparation and better imaging is driving the demand for atomic force microscopes. Microscope manufacturers and researchers find these microscopes more useful in neuroscience, biomedical engineering and toxicology studies, as they can be used in vacuum, air, and water. Moreover, electron and scanning probe microscopes find wide applications in neuroscience, as these advanced microscopes offer atomic level imaging of brain sections.
Geographically, North America accounted for the largest share of the global life science microscopy devices market in 2013. However, demand for microscopy devices in Asia Pacific and Latin America is expected to be high during the forecast period due to the growing contract research organization (CRO) market in these regions.
The global life science microscopy devices market is characterized by the presence of few prominent players such as Nikon Corporation, FEI, JEOL Ltd., Leica Microsystems, Hitachi High-technology Corporation, Olympus Corporation, and Carl Zeiss AG.