Silicon photonics: datacom, yes, but not only…

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In 2019, shipments of silicon photonic transceivers for datacenters reached almost 3.5 million units, for revenues worth US$364 million. And the success story does not stop there…

“Indeed, this is an impressive growth since most products appeared in 2016 and 2017,” reminds Alexis Debray, PhD. Technology & Market Analyst at Yole Développement (Yole). And he explains: “Silicon photonic transceivers are reported to have better reliability and lower price than transceivers using legacy optics. And we see lot of new companies that are focusing their activities on the development of transceivers to penetrate the silicon photonics world for telecom/datacom applications.”

And this growth is expected to continue in coming years, explains Yole in its Silicon photonics report, 2020 edition, Silicon Photonics Market & Technology 2020. So what does this story make so successful?

The main reason is focused on the global network traffic. Therefore, it doubles every three years thanks to applications in Cloud, video streaming, and IoT . As a result, the silicon photonic transceiver market is directly impacted. Yole’s analysts expect this industry to be worth US$3.6 billion in 2025 with 24 million units shipped.

In parallel, the development of silicon photonic transceivers as an industry with millions of units shipped has resulted in the emergence of an ecosystem with PDKs , design rules, simulation software, testing equipment, and foundries. This ecosystem is enabling new companies to easily access this technology and enter new applications. Genalyte, a Californian company, releases immunoassays using silicon photonics this year. A first announcement has been done last week: read it on i-Micronews. Fiber optic gyroscopes using silicon photonics were announced for this year by KVH. Electronic noses, LiDARs, and OCT , all relying on silicon photonics, are under development and expected in coming years… More info.

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