Antimony tin oxide (ATO) is known as an alloy of tin oxide which is usually doped with antimony pentoxide. It exhibits significantly high conductivity with tin:antimony ratios being typically in a range of 80:20 to 95:5. Owing to their good electrical properties, antimony tin oxide has the ability to form nano particles which are further used in a wide variety of applications such as alloys and composites. ATO’s morphology is spherical and appears in the form of blue powder, although their consumption can sometimes lead to serious skin and eye irritations. Some of the primary applications of antimony tin oxide include additives for plastics, electronic applications such as touch screen, textiles, and coatings, sunlight shielding, dispersing liquid for producing sunlight shielding solid as well as transparent substrate. The nano particles of these metal oxides possess several novel properties such as magnetic, optical and electrical from high surface to volume ratio and quantum size effect. These materials are applied across a broad range of applications in various high-tech technologies and industries owing to their exceptional optical and magnetic properties, which significantly depend on their shape, structure and size.
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The global market for antimony tin oxide has been witnessing a noticeable increase owing to growing demand from its end-user industries. Electronics such as touch screen technology widely consume antimony tin oxide in their technology. Touch screens generally use antimony tin oxide in the touch system as well as in the LCD technology. Resistive touch screens which serve as an important segment in the market are usually constructed with two layers of electrically conductive materials antimony tin oxide or indium tin oxide, separated by insulated dots. In addition, capacitive touch screens are emerging as a high end version of the touch screen industry, specifically since the inception of iPhone by Apple Inc. which practices capacitive technology. However, resistive touch screen industry is expected to acquire majority of the shares in the touch screen industry. Use of antimony tin oxides in plastics as additives has been an important factor in the growth of the market. However, increasing regulations and environmental policies have been affecting the plastic industry due to which additive manufacturers have been under pressure to produce eco-friendly and safe chemicals.
High demand for electronics owing to rising disposable incomes of the individuals as well as changing lifestyles are expected to be one of the major factors driving the demand for antimony tin oxide in the electronic products such as touch screen. In addition, growth of the overall textiles market on account of rising demand for apparels has also contributed towards the demand for antimony tin oxide. Product development and innovations, improved product properties such as durability and strength, growth and technological advancement of the global textiles industry are the major factors that have been driving the market for antimony tin oxide. Other applications of ATO such as additives for plastics have also been prevalent in the growth of the market. The industry is anticipated to rise significantly owing to growth in plastic consumption, consumer appliances, automotives, and compliance with environmental regulations. However, rising health hazards regarding the use of plastic additives as well as growing potential for the market of biodegradable plastic additives is expected to slow down the growth of the market.
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American Elements, Guangdong Tuopu Zhongrun Nano Science & Technology Co., Ltd., Shanghai Huzheng Nano Technology Co., Ltd., and Sigma Aldrich Corporation are some of the key players present in the ATO industry.