Intel, Cisco, NVIDIA, GlobalFoundries and TSMC… The silicon photonics waltz

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The silicon photonics industry unveils cutting-edge developments, strategic collaborations, and China’s rise on the horizon.


  • The silicon photonics market is forecasted to grow to more than US$600 million in 2028 at a 44% CAGR 22-28*.
  • Intel, Cisco, Broadcom, AyarLabs, GlobalFoundries… the landscape is evolving, characterized by continuous R&D, strategic alliances, and collaborations.
  • Intel remains the market leader in datacom, with 61% market share in shipments and revenue, followed by Cisco and Broadcom.
  • Innovation seems to involve monolithic integration using quantum dot lasers.

Since 1985, silicon photonics has advanced significantly, evolving from high-confinement waveguides to a dominant transceiver technology. There is still active development in diverse applications, especially in data centers for AI and ML . The demand for faster applications and computations, coupled with the limitations of current computing architectures, has propelled silicon photonics into focus. Broadcom’s projections indicate substantial growth, acting as a catalyst for networking applications.

Silicon photonics is versatile, finding immediate use in data centers – dominated by Intel – and telecommunications, exemplified by Acacia. Other applications like optical LiDAR , medical uses, and quantum computing show promise but face challenges.

In its new report, Silicon Photonics 2023, Yole Intelligence provides context for why silicon photonics attracts huge attention for optical interconnects and other applications and details the silicon photonics applications in DC networks. The company, part of Yole Group, provides market forecasts and shares, detailed supply chain analyses, and technological trends. This study also reviews the optical transceiver industry, with a particular focus on China; it reveals the techniques for attaching a laser to a silicon PIC and identifies the crucial challenges that must be solved to make the next giant step in CMOS -foundry-compatible devices, circuits, integration, and packaging.

Martin Vallo, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Photonics, specializing in optical communication and semiconductor lasers within the Photonics and Sensing division at Yole Intelligence
“The silicon photonics market, valued at US$68 million in 2022, is forecasted to exceed US$600 million in 2028, driven by high-data-rate modules and the increasing use of optical I/O in ML servers for scaling models with light.”

The silicon photonics industry is shaped by a diverse array of participants, including major vertically integrated players like Intel, Cisco, Marvell, Broadcom, Nvidia, and IBM, along with startups/design houses such as AyarLabs, OpenLight, Lightmatter, and Lightelligence. Research institutions like UCSB, Columbia University, Stanford Engineering, CEA Leti, A*Star and MIT contribute significantly, as do foundries like GlobalFoundries, Tower Semiconductor, imec, and TSMC, and equipment suppliers like Applied Materials, ASML, and Aixtron. Intel stands out as a leader, investing heavily in R&D, while numerous startups focus on specific applications or novel technologies…

Titre du visuel

june 2021

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Thematic(s) :

Eric Mounier, Ph.D., Fellow Analyst at Yole Intelligence
“The silicon photonics industry is characterized by continuous research and development, strategic partnerships, and growing accessibility through silicon photonics foundries. Its potential to enhance data transfer speeds, reduce energy consumption, and enable various applications positions it as a promising area for industrial growth.”

In datacom, Intel holds a 61% market share in shipments and revenue, followed by Cisco, Broadcom, and other smaller companies. However, with strengthened portfolios and commercialization from other players, Intel’s dominance is expected to diminish. In telecom, Cisco (Acacia) commands nearly 50% market share, trailed by Lumentum (Neophotonics) and Marvell (Inphi), with the market being driven by coherent pluggable ZR/ZR+ modules.

Yole Intelligence’s photonics and lighting team invites you to follow the latest innovations and applications on

Photonics West 2023

In this regard, Yole Group is thrilled to attend the largest photonic event, SPIE PHOTONICS WEST 2024, with dedicated presentations:

  • MicroLED, From Sprint to Marathon? – by Eric Virey, Ph.D., Principal Analyst, Display at Yole Intelligence
  • Photonics Technologies for Datacom: Complement or Compete? – by Martin Vallo, Ph.D., Senior Analyst, Photonics at Yole Intelligence
  • VCSELs: Driving innovations in 3D sensing and data communication – by Ali Jaffal, Ph.D., Technology & Market Analyst, Compound Semiconductors & Emerging Substrates at Yole Intelligence

More information HERE.

Interested in an onsite meeting with us? Meet us at Booth #5521 and send us your request at

Stay tuned!

*Forecasts have been substantially revised downward compared to the Silicon Photonics report, 2022 edition. Shipments of silicon photonics-based products have seen a notable decrease, primarily attributed to reduced adoption in datacom applications. This is compounded by a careful revision of the manufacturing yield and the average selling price of silicon photonic devices. Yole Group now excludes the tunable laser in the PIC circuit for telecom. Consequently, these adjusted estimations impact the silicon photonics forecast between 2023 and 2028.


  • CAGR : Compound Annual Growth Rate
  • AI : Artificial Intelligence
  • ML : Machine Learning
  • LiDAR : Light Detection and Ranging
  • PIC : Photonic Integrated Circuit
  • CMOS : Complementary Metal-oxide Semiconductor
  • I/O : Input/Output

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