HIGH PURITY QUARTZ(HPQ) – Innovative Applications

Quartz is a raw crystalline mineral consisting of silicon dioxide (SiO 2) in which silicon and oxygen atoms are arranged in a repeated three-dimensional pattern. Quartz is characterized as high purity only when it contains less than 50 μg/g of impurities. Ultra-pure quartz is rare in nature and larger deposits thereof even more rare. Beneficiation of raw quartz into refined high purity products involves several steps which need to be adapted to minimize the specific impurities of the individual raw quartz feed in line with end-use applications.

Some Innovative Applications of HPQ

Quartz crystals have the unique piezoelectricity property that converts the mechanical pressure into electrical energy and vice versa. When a quartz crystal is cut along an exact angle to its axis, the pressure applied to the crystal creates a minute electrical charge, while conversely, an electrical load applied to quartz is possible to cause crystal vibration frequencies over 30 kHz in certain applications. 

Some of such innovative applications of HPQ is discussed below.

Semi-Conductor Industry

Semiconductors can be considered the building blocks of the modern era as they power everything from cars to computers to refrigerators. High purity quartz is essential in manufacturing Si grade semiconductors. Polysilicon is heated to a high temperature and a silicon ingot is extracted from the molten liquid. Only high-purity quartz can be used in semiconductor manufacturing as even the slightest impurity renders semiconductors unusable and results in losses to the tune of millions of dollars. Fairfield Market Research states that semiconductor and solar industries accounted for 75% share in the global high purity quartz market in 2018. 

High purity quartz products are ideal for use in the semiconductor industry, due to their superior quality and excellent purity. High purity quartz is used in the semiconductor industry to produce crucibles and quartz glass products such as windows, rods, and tubes. High purity quartz is also used in the production of silicon metal, which is the base for semiconductor wafers manufactured by using the Czochralski process. Heartlands of the semiconductor production are Japan, Germany, South Korea, and California. Quartz Corp, a U.S.-based company, is capable to supply HPQ in these regions due to strategic location of its offices in the U.S. and Europe and strong team of sales and marketing in Asia. High purity quartz enables parts of a semiconductor to withstand extreme temperatures of wafer processing. Rising use of new-generation wafers in semiconductors is driving the demand for high purity quartz. Semiconductors are mostly used in the electronics industry. It is the most preferred material of choice to enhance the performance of products. This, in turn, would fuel the use of high purity quartz in the semiconductor industry in the next few years. 

High demand from the solar industry

High purity quartz (HPQ) is a special feedstock, and it is used in industries that have high-tech applications, for example, the solar industry. High purity quartz sand is the most cost-effective solution to meet the consistently increasing requirements, in terms of quality, in the solar industry. The solar industry has gained high significance recently, as solar power is a source of renewable energy. Several countries across the globe are undertaking solar projects so as to save on non-renewable sources of energy. Solar power involves the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity by using photovoltaic (PV) cells. Most solar power installations have been carried out in China and India. The raw material employed to produce crucibles for use in the solar cell industry is high purity quartz (HPQ) sand. High purity quartz is used in several manners in the manufacture of c-Si cells and modules including in crucibles; in quartz glass for tubes, rods, and widows; and in silicon metal. Thus, growth of the solar industry is projected to fuel the global market for high purity quartz.

Optical fibers

Optical fibers are very fine filaments of plastic or glass, less than 8 mm in diameter, by means of which digital data are transmitted in the form of light. Usually, we find them grouped in bundles, forming the so -called optical cables. An optical fiber cable means comprising of dozens or hundreds of very fine optical fibers, with a diameter thinner than one hair strand. With the laser, a signal can be transmitted through optical fiber at a distance greater than 50 km. In the field of optics, quartz meets many needs. It has certain optical properties that allow the use of polarized laser beams. The scientific field of fiber lasers utilizes quartz as a window, as well as prisms, optical filters

and timing devices. Smaller amounts of high-quality quartz crystal are used for prisms and lenses in optical instruments. Scientists are experimenting with quartz rods to focus sunlight into solar energy applications.

Fiber Optic Connectivity with High Purity Quartz

Fiber optic cables comprise a transparent core enclosed in a translucent casing made from high purity quartz. High purity quartz is essential in sustaining the performance of Internet transmission lines and national governments have taken note of this. In 2020, the U.K. government unveiled its plans to invest US$6.5 bn. in delivering nationwide fib optic broadband. The U.K. is committed to being at the forefront of the 5G era by investing in gigabit-ready broadband connectivity. The use of fiber optics in the telecommunications sector is anticipated to grow at 5% per annum until 2030.

Higher Density of Microcrystalline Over Polycrystalline Material Makes HPQ a Preferred Option

In 2019, the cumulative off-grid and grid connected solar capacity touched 585 GW with double digit growth in the solar power market on the horizon. High purity quartz is vital in producing solar photovoltaic (PV) wafers. The current rage is microcrystalline technology, and it has surpassed polycrystalline in terms of market share in the high purity quartz market as it provides superior efficiency and greater density. There has been a shift towards renewable sources such as solar energy, benefiting high purity quartz PV makers.

Thus, the Rise in demand for high purity quartz in various industries is the key driving factor which is expected to boost the global high purity quartz market growth. Worldwide sales of high purity quartz (HPQ) are expected to reach around US$ 918.8 Mn by the end of 2022. From 2022 to 2032, the global high purity quartz market is predicted to expand at 6.5% CAGR and be valued at around US$ 1.72 Bn by 2032.


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