A round-up of this week’s coronavirus-related news and countermeasures from the photonics industry

2020 is the year that Covid-19 has changed our view about the world, from finance to ecology to us, humans,” said Dr. Dimitrios Damianos, Technology & Market Analyst, Photonics & Sensing at tech markets analyst Yole Développement. “Yole expects that there will be an effect on MEMS markets. Indeed, we have accounted for a combination of positive and negative scenarios regarding the main markets, applications and devices concerned,” he added.

Yole’s Photonic & Sensing team details these forecasts in its new annual report Status of the MEMS Industry 2020, which was first published in 2004. Analysis, market consolidation and forecasts were done during May 2020 using Yole’s database, with the effect and hypotheses regarding Covid-19, dating end of April 2020. Considering the Covid-19 impacts, the analysts examine the MEMS market and propose a complete review of the MEMS industry and future trends.

There are opportunities for MEMS to be used in very different applications. More people working from home will favor the market for data centers and accelerate the deployment of 5G; the lockdown has slammed on the brakes in markets such as automotive and, to a lesser extent, consumer devices due to a dramatic drop in demand.

According to the latest Status of the MEMS Industry 2020 report, MEMS for consumer devices will be mainly supported by RF5 MEMS. It will continue to grow in 2020 and beyond due to the expanding 5G and sub 6 GHz band rollout that precipitates the need for BAW6 filters. Including RF MEMS the consumer market contracts only by 2.6%, but without RF MEMS it is poised to slump by 16% in 2020. A recovery to pre-Covid levels is expected in 2021, and growth will resume.

In the automotive field, negative effects of Covid-19 will be prominent with a -27.5% YoY decline in 2020,” said Dr. Eric Mounier, Fellow Analyst at Yole. “Most devices related to automotive will suffer because of the drop in the market, including sensing, lighting and power. Pressure and inertial MEMS will continue to guide this market, since they are indispensable in safety systems such as TPMS7, airbags, ESC8 and roll-over detection.”

Industrial MEMS sales are also set to benefit from the Covid-19 pandemic, says the report, as thermal imaging and sensing systems, both thermopile- and microbolometer-based, are expected to surge due to the need for contactless body temperature measurement.