A photonic integrated circuit (PIC), as the name suggests, makes use of photons to carry data, as opposed to electronics that make use of electrons to do the same. A PIC essentially integrates two or more photonic functions to form an integrated optical circuit. Photons, with their attribute of traveling at the speed of light, have made the development of highly sophisticated optical chips a reality by improving the speed of data transfer. With a never-ending demand for high data speeds and the subsequent investments by companies to cater to this need, the global photonic IC market is expected to benefit immensely.
Putting this growth into numbers, Transparency Market Research, a market intelligence and consulting firm, predicts that the global photonic IC market will touch US$1.3 bn by the end of 2022, rising at a CAGR of 25.3% from 2015 through 2022. In 2013, the global photonic IC market was valued at US$0.19 bn.
Cost and Size Reduction of Photonic ICs Gives Market Head Start
The integration of various optical components such as lasers, modulators, and detectors into a single, multi-functional component has proven to be a launch pad for the global photonic IC market. Moreover, other desirable qualities of photonic ICs—such as better transmission capacities and speed, lower power consumption, and higher efficiency—have helped their adoption rates soar.
Photonic ICs have thus become commonplace in a myriad of industry verticals such as aerospace and defense, telecommunication, metrology, and healthcare. With new technological advancements reported in the global photonic ICs market, growth is a certain. Quantum computing, which is expected to be commercialized by 2018, will generate massive demand for photonic ICs. Quantum computing will mark a new breakthrough in processing power speeds, and this could be the biggest opportunity yet for companies in the photonic ICs market.
That having been said, design issues continue to be a matter of concern in large-scale photonic integration. In 2013, North America accounted for 39.0% of the global photonic IC market’s revenue and will continue to remain in the reigning position over the next few years.
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Hybrid Integration Predicted to Remain Dominant but Will Face Competition from Monolithic Integration
Based on the integration technique, the photonic IC market can be divided into hybrid integration, monolithic integration, and module integration. Hybrid integration is the most preferred integration technique currently and will continue to remain so over the next few years. The deployment of monolithic integration is expected to rise substantially over the next few years. According to TMR analysts, the monolithic integration segment will exhibit a 26.5% CAGR between 2015 and 2022. Monolithic integration renders better efficiency in large- and medium-scale PICs, which explains why more companies will increasingly look toward monolithic integration technique for PICs.
From the standpoint of raw materials used in photonic ICs, silicon-on-insulator and indium phosphide were the most widely used raw materials for manufacturing photonic ICs. The two raw material segments generated 60.9% revenue of the global photonic IC market as of 2013. The use of indium phosphide as a substrate is driven by its ability to efficiently integrate both passive and active components within a photonic integrated circuit.