COVID-19 IMPACT SURVEY MAY 2020
The global market for Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) is projected to reach US$3.1 billion by 2025, driven by the growing interest in the ability to exploit the properties of light to transmit information at speeds millions of times faster than either copper or laser, especially against the backdrop of the insatiable need for bandwidth and communication speeds. The growing opportunity in optical communications therefore bodes well for the growth of PICs. Optical communication, also known as optical telecommunication, is growing in popularity driven by factors such as demand for faster internet broadband speeds, ubiquity of data communications networks, and growing use of bandwidth intensive applications such as provision of high speed internet (HSI) and triple play bundled services that includes voice, data, and video streaming. Investments in optical network infrastructures are therefore witnessing robust gains. In addition to telecommunication service providers and MNOs, even companies are rapidly shifting to fibre-optic enabled enterprise networks to handle ever-increasing big data loads and leverage benefits of technologies like IoT, cloud and artificial intelligence. While migration from copper wires to optical fibre access networks begins to mature, there is currently a strong undercurrent of change in the optical networking industry. The industry is witnessing a shift from Passive Optical Networks (PON) technology to Active Optical Network (AON). PON technology utilizes optical splitters to separate light signals of different wavelengths as they are transmitted through the network. AON, on the other hand, utilizes electrical switching equipment like routers, switch aggregator, amplifiers and repeaters, for signal distribution, management and delivery.
Increased deployment of agile optical networks (AON) by network service providers is expected to open up new opportunities for the use of PICs in enabling dynamic scaling of network infrastructures in response to fluctuating data traffic. Few of the factors that will help widen the application and adoption of PICs include breakthroughs in the development of application specific photonic integrated circuits (ASPICs) for new generation optoelectronic devices; innovations in fabrication technologies of ASPICs; surging investments in advanced telecom infrastructure; progressive improvements in photonic integration with conventional technology processes; emphasis on optical signal processing in fiber optic networks; high tide in Wi-Fi equipment installations; and emerging era of quantum computing, among others.
Integration of silicon photonics devices with traditional electronics will unleash new opportunities in on-chip and on-board communication; chip-to-chip interconnections; optical sensing and biophotonics. As we inch closer to exascale computing, optical interconnections will offer an alternative to the otherwise dense network of copper interconnections that will be needed. Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) integrates multiple photonic functions and hence is more suitable for exascale processing. While electronic integrated circuits are dense, they can never match the speed offered by PICs. PICs have higher bandwidth; higher levels of immunity to electromagnetic interference; and are compatible with current CMOS fabrication technologies. A PIC comprises of optical devices such as modulators, optical amplifiers, lasers and multiplexers. Asia-Pacific including China is a major market led by developing telecom and electronics industries and rapid shift of the global semiconductor manufacturing base to Southeast Asian countries.