Photonics and Lighting

PHOTONICS AND LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY ARE CREATING A NEW PARADIGM IN THE SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY

LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY STARTING WITH A CLEAN SLATE - Chances are, you’re being lit by a photonics device right now. Semiconductor-based lighting (LED) has almost replaced the Edison filament lamp. But in addition to that, other sources of light like laser diodes are now a key part of our mobile phones – handling 3D sensing function, for example – or cars – as with the introduction of LiDAR for autonomous vehicles. But did you know those solutions can also increase the efficiency of data centers (with silicon photonic devices), communications infrastructures or hospitals (with new medical imaging functions and UVC-based disinfection)? In addition to light emission, photonics also involves managing such light using dedicated optical structures, either standalone or at wafer level, and also all the integration technologies to put together all theses functions in a package.

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FROM ELECTRON TO PHOTON, SEMICONDUCTORS STEP INTO THE LIGHT

Semiconductor technologies have been instrumental in the evolution of the way we generate light and manage it. The added value of semiconductor technologies started with the ability to produce small, cost-adapted devices. They use thin film processing at wafer level to manufacture devices that manage photons and electrons together. The ability to have single point devices such as EEL, multi point emitting devices like VCSELs, or surface emitting devices like OLED has multiplied the functions enabled by such photonic semiconductors. They can go from a basic on/off signal to very complex photonic modules that are able to handle large volumes of data in datacenters. All these evolutions are pushing these photonics systems from shoe box to modules, to system-in-package.

Our vision

THE OVERHAUL IN THE LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY

Photonics and lighting emerged in the early 2010s as a new area of growth for semiconductor devices, with the first wave of LED adoption in displays and general lighting. This followed unprecedented growth both in terms of new applications and markets due to the replacement of existing devices, as well as completely new functions.

Concurrent with this market growth, a discrete production infrastructure and supply chain emerged. From distinct equipment (MOCVD, MBE) to specific substrates (Sapphire, GaAs, InP) and an exclusive supply chain with specialized foundries, packaging, and testing, the photonics industry is generating its own technology roadmap. The dedicated development for further integration (silicon photonics, co-packaged optics, hybrid integration) and new devices with enhanced functions (UVC LED) make this an overhaul that needs to be fully understood and forecasted.

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FROM PHOTONIC TO LIGHTING TECHNOLOGIES, WE SHED LIGHT ON THE INDUSTRY EVOLUTION

Yole Group devotes itself to understanding developments in photonics and lighting technologies and applications. We monitor existing applications and forecast the introduction of new devices and functions across all markets – from consumer to medical, automotive to defense – and analyze the technical choices made by the leading players up and down the supply chain. Charting technology emergence and diffusion analysis against market development (CAPEX, R&D spending) allows us to provide a unique understanding of lighting and photonics market trends.

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ILLUMINATING THE DYNAMIC LIGHTING TECHNOLOGY MARKET

The photonics and lighting devices market is vast and complex. It is nonetheless defined by its growth through the replacement of existing functions, the latest innovations and the emergence of new applications.

At Yole Group, we combine a number of sectors where lighting and photonic devices are key results in an overall market worth over $100 billion, with more than 10% CAGR over the next 5 years. During this period, we forecast the LED market to reach $50 billion. In parallel, VCELS, EEL and laser diodes markets will go over $10 billion.

Based on a dedicated supply chain, this industry includes sapphire, GaAs and InP manufacturing as well as all related products such as optical transceivers, LiDAR, 3D sensing or light-based disinfection systems.

Photonics and lighting industries are emerging as key growth drivers for the semiconductor industry and as providers of incredible innovations, in addition to being enablers of new functionalities. They are driven by multiple companies: from LED (Nichia, Sanan, ams OSRAM) to VCEL manufacturers (Lumentum, II-VI, Trumpf, ams) and complex photonics modules (Lumentum, II-VI, Coherent.)

Key Drivers

THE SILICON PHOTONICS INDUSTRY ENABLES FASTER COMMUNICATION AND DATA TRANSFER

With the increase in film streaming and social networking within a data-oriented economy, datacenter capabilities require constant expansion year after year, combined with a need to lower the power consumption and limit capex and opex costs.

This is where the silicon photonics industry plays a key role. Silicon photonics enable greater data transfer bandwidth while lowering the energy consumption of datacenters by replacing copper connections.

At the same time, silicon photonics are at ground zero for a complete industrial shift. Managing data transfer at the photon level requires the integration of new functions at wafer level, new packaging, new system architectures… To take full advantage of such changes, datacenter users and designers are becoming more and more involved in the supply chain. This spurs the push towards innovative devices, modules and architecture that will enable higher performing, more sustainable datacenters.

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UVC LED AS A SOLUTION FOR SURFACE DISINFECTION

The spread of COVID-19 has propelled the use of light-based disinfection systems to clean surfaces and volumes without using chemical products. This has pushed the UVC LED industry into massive technology and manufacturing investment, doubling revenues by x2 in just one year.
This momentum will drive the UV lighting technologies market to a valuation of over $3 billion over the next 5 years. However, there are two main bottlenecks. One is to deliver devices emitting enough light power through UVC LED to enable disinfection. The other is to build production at sufficient scale so that it can support the growth of such applications at an affordable cost.