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Indium Predictions for 2019

Hello readers!

If you’re here, it’s probably because you’re interested in the element indium. As you might already know, I’ve been interested in the element for close to 14 years now (which - by Indium Corporation standards - isn’t really all that long!). In that time we’ve witnessed the growth of many new applications of indium in products that we use every day. Indium is now closer to us than ever before – from flat-screen televisions, cell phones, and computer processors to thermometers, airplanes, and MRI equipment. Let’s take a look at three insights into the world of indium this year:

1. New liquid metal (gallium-indium-based alloys) applications are going to start to mature.

We have been keeping tabs on the recent developments in labs across the world, and it looks like some of the novel liquid metal applications are getting closer to commercialization. The key challenges with Ga-based liquid metals are often 1) containment and 2) compatibility. We’ve seen GaIn alloys replace mercury in many applications out of necessity, but soon you’ll see these alloys used proactively as solutions to emerging electronic, thermal, and fluid design challenges.

2. The price of indium is tough to predict right now.

The natural fluctuation of the price of indium is nothing new to anyone who buys or sells indium; however, the price of indium has been low for an unusually long time (around three years at this point). I could predict the price of indium to go back up for a period of time, but large amounts of indium from Fanya may enter the market – keeping the price low for an extended time.

3. Indium-based thermal interface materials (TIMs) will take over a larger portion of the thermal management market.

If you split up the processor market, there is a divide between bare die and metallized die packages. Generally, indium is only used with metallized die at the TIM1 level – but that may be changing in the future. Indium Corporation recently introduced a new technology to facilitate the use of indium preforms with bare die. This has the potential to unlock high-end cooling for budget processors this year!

These are just my expectations. It will be interesting to look back to see where these stand at end of the year – and I’ll be interested in hearing from you regarding these predictions. Feel free to send me an email at: jhisert@indium.com

~Jim