Silicon Photonics Market & Technologies 2011-2017: Big Investments, Small Business
Silicon photonics has huge potential after 2020, if the current constraints that affect cost can be leveraged
OPTICS, CMOS, MEMS, 3DICs : CONVERGING INTO A NEW BREED OF PHOTONIC DEVICES
Silicon photonics has tremendous potential as a new technology, blending optical technology with low cost CMOS semiconductor processing. Silicon photonics is a disruptive technology that enables a new breed of monolithic opto-electronic devices.
The goal is to deliver economic optical connectivity everywhere, from network level to intra-system level, and eventually to chip-to-chip. Today, except for the light source, all other optical functions (modulators, detection, waveguides, intelligence …) can be embedded wafer-level at the SOI substrate.
Si photonics addresses different kind of devices such as:
Individual components and subcomponents: used as a single function silicon photonics device, e.g. VOA, Mux/Demux, active filters, optical switches or as optical engines combining optics and electronics.
Transceiver-type products: embedded optical modules, transmitters/receivers, active optical cables or AOCs.
Future products: e.g. hybrid packaged devices and 3DICs / Integrated opto-electronic chips.
Moreover, passive optical elements (such as array wave guides, optical filters, couplers, splitters, polarizer arrays) can be created with silicon photonics technologies and integrated with active elements.
In the report, we distinguish between Silicon photonics, CMOS photonics, Hybrid silicon photonics, and III-V integrated photonics. Silicon photonics has been restrained to R&D labs for a long time, but now the first Silicon photonics products have shipped and an industrial infrastructure has been set up step-by-step.
DATA COMMUNICATION WILL DWARF ALL OTHER SI APPLICATIONS
Although silicon photonics can address a wide range of applications, very few companies are actually shipping products. The potential markets are:
Telecom: Metro and long haul applications
Datacom: Data centers and campus applications
Consumer: Connect desktop PC devices and PCs with HDTVs
HPC & Data Centers: Using AOCs or Embedded Modules
Professional/Commercial Video: Digital signage, digital cinemas, video recording and studios
Metrology and sensors: Measurement of time, temperature, sound, frequency, stress, range using special silicon photonics sensors
Medical: DNA, glucose, molecular and cellular analysis, etc... using special silicon photonics sensors
Military/Aerospace/Scientific: Scientific instruments at corporate and national labs; aircraft, space missile, radar, imaging, intelligence applications
Data communications is the big market and will dwarf all other silicon photonics applications. Indeed, major datacom protocols are all moving to high-speed signaling and passing 10Gbps where reach and signal integrity issues are surfacing for both copper and optical technologies. There is a clear trend to surpass 25Gb in datacom protocols and this is where Si photonics will make sense.
The need will be driven by:
Need for low cost, high-speed interconnects supporting ever increasing data rates at and beyond 25Gbps
Need for reach distance / data rate not served by VCSELs
BIG CHALLENGES AHEAD
Silicon photonics still faces big market, industrial and technical challenges. The main problems are:
Few products today
Few companies have developed integrated product solutions.
CAE/CAD programs are almost non-existent
Competition with VCSEL-based alternatives
Need for high volumes
For several years now, the silicon photonics projects have been under the umbrella of large-scale R&D projects to set up roadmaps. Today, MPW services foundries are opening and more industrial foundry activities are set up. Generic technologies and generic production platforms are needed to achieve low cost/high volume. As the future lays in the separation of design and fabrication, this industry is looking for an electronics-like foundry model. The mapping of the players involved in silicon photonics already shows an important number of foundry services.
Although the industry is trying to use as much as possible of the existing CMOS processes, 3D ICs technologies will contribute to the Si photonics, especially wafer bonding and 3D interconnects.
Although the market will grow by a factor of 3 in 5 years, business could explode after 2020 as inter and intra-chip communications could make this market grow by a factor of 10!
KEY FEATURES OF THE REPORT
This report gives an overview of the silicon photonics markets, technologies and players. We also include a financial analysis that shows the latest VC funds.
The report includes:
What is silicon photonics?
What are the applications?
What are the challenges are on the applications side?
What are the challenges are on the technologies side?
Silicon photonics forecast by applications 2010-2017
Profiles of players involved in silicon photonics
WHO SHOULD READ THE REPORT
Understand the potential of the silicon photonics
Understand the technical challenges
Identify and evaluate silicon photonics markets with market size & growth potential
Analyze the threats and opportunities
Monitor and benchmark competitor’s advancements
Evaluate you potential as a silicon photonics player
Financial & strategic investors
Understand the main market dynamics and main technology trends
Life sciences & health applications are driving biophotonics market growth. New technologies based on photon interaction with tissues will expand the biophotonics market from $23B in 2012 to $36B by 2017!