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Silicon Photonics Market: Dominant Applications

Silicon Photonics Market: Dominant Applications

Silicon Photonics Market - Inkwood Research

The electronic systems’ performance is restricted by the power and input/output needed to drive connections at a speed of tens of Gbps. Integrating photonics and electronics has been central to increasing silicon photonics-based assemblies’ aggregate bandwidth and speed. For instance, achieving transceivers with capacities of 1.6 Tbps and above. According to Inkwood Research, the global silicon photonics market is estimated to record a CAGR of 18.56% during the forecast period, 2023-2032.

Silicon Photonics Market: Dominant Applications

Silicon facilitates the customization of its properties through doping, making it suitable for applications in photonics and electronics. The unique combination of photonics technology with silicon properties has been demonstrated in many applications.

Our blog discusses the dominant and imminent applications of silicon photonics.

  • Telecommunication

Silicon photonics has emerged as one of the most favorable technologies to supplement the global optical networking demands of 5G mobile network service providers. There is a rising demand for ubiquitous connectivity and high bandwidth now that the 5G deployment will be faster, given the swift developments of digital cellular networks. Besides, compared to current traffic levels, 5G systems are estimated to handle ten times on average and around 1000 times during peak usage while on low power consumption.

Additionally, 5G systems are evaluated to handle new services that need low latency, like carrier aggregation, beam formation technologies, and frequency bands with stringent time-domain requirements. As a result, the application transport network will need sufficient capacity to handle the growing demands of future applications and loads of data packets generated by users. Accordingly, optical communications are slated to meet these demands.

At the same time, the performance of conventional technologies like core metro networks and discrete components is insufficient to meet imminent needs like high-energy efficiency, miniaturization, low costs, and RAN applications. This is where silicon photonics comes in since it integrates the cost-effectiveness of CMOS manufacturing processes & packaging technologies with optical communications’ benefits like wide bandwidth, low latency, and high speed.

In March 2022, Global Foundries (GF) and Ansys collaborated to offer unique silicon photonics solutions to address the growth spurt of data volumes while considerably minimizing power consumption.

  • Data Centers

The growing number of data centers, given the increased data traffic from enterprises, offers huge scope for silicon photonics market growth. Collaboration and computing are important contributors to an enterprise’s computation demand and data center workload. Additionally, the infrastructure facilitating the Internet of Everything (IoE) highlights the need for real-time responsiveness between objects and people.

Similarly, data traffic management and data processing should be able to support big data analysis, cognitive computing, and cloud computing. Therefore, silicon nanophotonics technology is increasingly applied to optical communication systems. High-speed silicon photonics-based technologies facilitate smaller form factors with enhanced power efficiency and higher bandwidth.

Furthermore, video or media streaming is the leading contributor with regard to consumers. Accordingly, tech giants like Microsoft, Facebook, and Google are ramping up their data centers globally. Moreover, the current and future networking and communications infrastructure demands need higher performance technologies to design and manufacture optical transceiver modules. Therefore, market players are investing in silicon photonics to deliver advanced products.

For instance, in March 2022, Marvell Technology announced the production availability of its 400G DR4 silicon photonics platform. It is designed to address the high-level applications and increasing bandwidth demands that depend on machine learning and artificial intelligence.

In addition, in February 2022, Ayar Labs and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced a multi-year strategic collaboration to develop optical technology-based silicon photonics solutions.

Future of Silicon Photonics: Imminent Applications

The measurement of distance using light is vital in the automotive industry for applications like range finding, surveying, and mapping. As a result, silicon photonics is projected to have growth opportunities in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving. For instance, ADAS and autonomous vehicles need photodetectors that detect the presence of objects based on the light they reflect. Accordingly, silicon photonics can facilitate advancements like high-performance electric vehicles and fulfill key functions like media communication networks.

Besides, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) is an emerging technology with major applications in the automotive sector. Silicon photonics-based LiDAR systems ensure lower costs and higher reliability than other LiDAR systems. Also, transmitters and optical receivers are integrated within the same module in the silicon photonics-based LiDAR systems.

LeddarTech, a subsidiary of the National Optics Institute (INO), Canada’s leading optics and photonics research institute, manufactures and supplies silicon photonics-based LiDAR technology.

Furthermore, swift changes are anticipated in the silicon photonics industry, with data communication greatly emphasized. Besides, manufacturing and product design innovations are projected to continue, with market players looking for advanced industrial solutions to ease business operations. Particularly, the advancements in communication technology and the need for cross-industrial & efficient applications are expected to contribute to the global silicon photonics market growth.

By Akhil Nair


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