Track-etched membranes have well-defined pore structures and pore size distributions. The pore size and the density of track-etched membranes is independently controlled during the production process. The main manufacturing stage of track-etched membranes is the ion irradiation of the polymer film. During this step, heavy ions are able to penetrate the polymer film, resulting in ionization and excitation of electrons. In the second step of production, the remaining polymer chains are etched using appropriate chemicals to remove small-sized particles through diffusion. The major features of track-etched membranes are well-defined cylindrical geometry of pores, low protein binding, and smooth surface for collection of particles for observation under microscopes.
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Track-etched membranes are used for the purification of drugs and vaccines, fluid clarification, microscopy, bioassays, environmental analysis, and in bacterial quality control of food and water. Theses membranes are also used in clean rooms, drinking water purification, and in analytical systems. Track-etched polycarbonate membranes are produced using polycarbonate film. These membranes have a defined pore size, high flow rate, and high thermal and chemical stability. The major advantages of track-etched membranes are no contamination of the sample and smooth surface for enhanced visibility of particles.
The global track-etched membrane market can be segmented based on application, material, end-user, and geography. In terms of application, the global track-etched membrane market can be divided into microbiology, cell biology, and analytical testing. Based on material, the track-etched market can be categorized into polycarbonate, polyethylene, and polyamide. In terms of end-user, the market can be divided into biopharmaceutical industry, academic research institutes, CRO, and others.
The major drivers of the global track-etched membrane market are increase in demand for therapeutics, increase in research, technological advancements, rise in collaboration between public and private organizations, mergers and acquisitions, and increase in the adoption of track-etched membranes in the food industry. The major restraining factors of the global track-etched membrane market during the forecast period are high cost associated with the large-scale separation processes, competition from low-cost depth filters, stringent manufacturing regulations, limited stability at high temperatures, and poor resistance to organic solvents.
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In terms of geography, the global track-etched membrane market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is expected to hold a major share of the global track-etched membrane market during the forecast period, followed by Europe. The major factors attributed to the larger market share of North America and Europe are the presence of major manufactures in the regions, increase in mergers and acquisition among analytical instrumentation companies, rise in the number of research centers, and increase in applications of track-etched membranes in the food industry for improving quality.
The track-etched membrane market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand at a higher rate during the forecast period. The high growth of the market in the region is attributed to the rapid expansion of the biopharmaceutical industry, increase in product launches, and the strategy of major players of collaborating with regional distrubutors and manufacturers to expand their geographical footprint. The track- etched membrane market in Latin America and Middle East & Africa is expected to expand due to an increase in health care expenditure and expansion in the health care industry during the forecast period.
The major manufacturers in the global track-etched membrane market are Merck KGaA, Sterlitech Corporation, it4ip s.a., Oxyphen Ag, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Corning Inc., GE Healthcare, Sartorius, and other prominent players.