Photonic Integrated Circuits Market Gains Momentum to Support High-speed Data Transmission, Internet On-the-go Requirements

The global market for photonic integrated circuits (IC) will develop at a whopping 25.30% CAGR in the 2015-2022 period, say analysts at Transparency Market Research. Thanks to a heap of new technologies, optical networks have become mainstream for communication networks. So much so that optical networks are the backbone of the Internet, especially for loops that need to support 100 gigabits per second (Gbps) transfer rates of data, a big leap from the 2.5 Gbps that was attainable in the 1990s on these networks.

With the Internet and connectivity in various ways becoming an integral part of our lives, technology has touched all avenues of our lives to some extent. Even the most mundane businesses are counting on technology-driven communication models. Owing to the reach of telecommunication networks, what industry experts speculate will soon be a reality – a major part of our planet will showcase a silicon heartbeat and networks will work as its nervous system.

In recent times, the optical industry has had a favorable spell, thanks to the deployment of 100G data transmission networks. Mostly utilized for fiber-optic networks, fiber-optic communication finds extensive application in mobile backhaul, data centers, cloud services, and other high-speed network applications. Like the shrinking of electronic devices leading to a massive integration in electronics, nanophotonics guarantees a similar scale-up for photonics.

How do Photonic ICs Work?

Photonic integrated circuits utilize light in place of electrons to carry out optical functions. Integrated optics is the niche technology that constructs photonic integrated circuits, wherein several optical components are combined to perform an array of functions.  These components can be optical filters, amplifiers, photodetectors, modulators, and amplifiers. Whilst the technology in constructing a photonic integrated circuit remains the same, the variable is the substrate that determines the features and limitations of the corresponding technology.

Recent developments in metamaterials, nanostructures, and silicon technology have extended the functionality avenues for these highly integrated optical chips. There are several reasons for the sales of optical networks and their supporting technologies. With the demand for 100G deployments becoming mainstream, the spending on wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) has spurred tremendously.

Design and Application Profile of Photonic Integrated Circuits – a Snapshot

The stringent design configuration of photonic ICs has limited its integration with a spectrum of networks. Out of these, a wavelength-scale structure that exhibits a high index of contrast is a key requirement. In these units, waveguides need to make large bends for the light to be confined; it is the index contrast between the waveguide core and the substrate cladding that decides the confinement factor.

Amongst the several applications of photonic integrated circuits, it is the optical communication segment that registered the largest share in the global market in 2013. Accounting for 58.6% of the market, the usability of the segment is for optical datacom, FTTx and access networks, and long-haul transport networks.


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