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Optoelectronics technology trends and market

Optoelectronic technology is a new technology formed by the combination of photon technology and electronic technology. Optoelectronics is the field of technology concerned with electronic device application to the sourcing, detection and control of light. Optoelectronics is  described as “a device that responds to optical power, emits or modifies optical radiation or utilizes optical radiation for its internal operation” or “any device that functions as an electrical-to-optical or optical-to-electrical transducer.”


These devices are basically transducers, devices that convert one form of energy into another form of energy, and can either be electrical-to-optical, which usually means that the machine produces light by expending or using electrical energy, or they can be optical-to-electronic, which means that the device is a detector of light and transforms the detected light signals into equivalent electrical signals for computer processing.


Optoelectronics includes the study and application of light-emitting or light-detecting devices. It is widely considered a sub-discipline of photonics. Optoelectronics should not be confused with electro-optics, as this field is a wider branch of physics that deals with the interaction of electric fields and light, without concern if an electronic device is involved or not.


Optoelectronics, in the context of science, deals with light, its detection, creation and manipulation for various purposes. This includes X-rays, gamma rays, infrared, ultraviolet and of course visible light. Optoelectronics use the quantum mechanical effect of light on materials used in electronic devices such as semiconductors. These effects are:

  • Photovoltaic or photoelectric — This is the direct conversion of light into electricity, which is the effect taken advantage of by solar cells. The underlying mechanisms of all optoelectronic devices are based on the photovoltaic effect, which refers to the emission of electrons from material by photons. When a light beam strikes a photoelectric material, photon energy may be absorbed by electrons in the material’s crystal lattice. Provided this energy exceeds the electron’s energy bandgap; it is ejected from the material. The same general principle works in the inverse to produce light from electrical signals.
  • Photoconductivity — This is an electrical phenomenon wherein a material becomes more conductive to electricity through the absorption of electromagnetic radiation such as infrared, ultraviolet and visible light. It is used in charge-coupled device (CCD) imaging sensors.
  • Stimulated emission — This is a process where a light photon interacts with an excited molecule which causes it to drop to a lower energy level, resulting in the emission or “liberation” of an identical photon which is transferred to the electromagnetic field. This process is used in laser diodes and quantum cascade lasers.
  • Radiative recombination — Electrons are transitioned from the valence to the conducting band in semiconductors, resulting in a carrier generation and recombination effect which produces light. This process is how LEDs produce light.



It encompasses the design, manufacture and study of electronic hardware devices that, as a result, converts electricity into photon signals for various purposes such as medical equipment, telecommunications and general science. Good examples are X-ray machines used in hospitals and fiber optic technology for telecommunication.


Photoelectron technology is a technique to study electron interaction and energy conversion between light and matter. The development of photoelectron technology has a deep impact on optoelectronics industry and electronic information industry. For example, optical communication and interconnection technology have played a leading role in high-speed broadband networks, high-performance computing, big data, the Internet of Things, and other fields.


Optoelectronics is quickly becoming a fast emerging technology field that consists of applying electronic devices to sourcing, detection, and control of light. These devices can be a part of many applications like military services, automatic access control systems, telecommunications, medical equipment, and more.  The most common optoelectronic devices that feature direct conversion between electrons and photons are LEDs, photo and laser diodes, and solar cells.


Optoelectronics is a critical part of several advanced technologies. Healthcare and automotive are the prominent industries that have started adopting optoelectronics in recent years. The use of optical sensors for biosensing applications in the healthcare industry allows for monitoring the heart rate and the functioning of other vital organs in a human body. Thus, the use of non-intrusive, inexpensive sensors across advanced healthcare applications has led to a paradigm change in consumer wellness. Moreover, the growing demand for automotive lighting for interior and exterior applications and head-up display units is expected to propel the demand for optoelectronic components such as LEDs and display panels.


The European Union and other developed countries have elevated the photon integration industry to the level of national strategic planning and development. In the United States, for example, in October 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama announced the establishment of the American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) Integrated Photonics, which was dedicated to transform the terminal photonics “ecosystem.” The birth of AIM Integrated Photonics provides a comprehensive platform for industrial giants, led by International Business Machine (IBM), Intel, and academic institutions, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).


In China, domestic research centered mainly at the Institute of Semiconductors, Institute of Microelectronics, Institute of Microsystems, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Accelink, Huawei, CLP Group, Solectron Suzhou, Tsinghua University, Beijing University, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Zhejiang University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and other institutions and enterprises. These institutes have successively won support from many national major scientific research projects, and they have made great progress in basic theory and device structural designs. However, due to restrictions in technologies and conditions, there is a big gap in theory and engineering aspects compared with foreign countries, which is a strategic and fundamental problem to be solved.


Rapid growth in communication data has put forward high requirements for optoelectronic devices. This means that we must develop optoelectronic devices and integration technologies that are similar to microelectronic integrated circuits.


Integrated opto electronics is the application of electronic devices and systems that detect, control light, and usually measured a sub-field of photonics. Integrated opto electronics deals with a family of optical components such as photodiodes, lasers, optical modulators, and optical wave guides as well as optical storage which are incorporated on a joint substrate for the purpose of performing functions similar to electrical integrate circuits. Integrated opto electronics organizes all necessary devices into an integrated form that can be compact & reliable components with high-performance functions.


Integrated opto electronics is expected to play an important role across many application areas. Integrated opto electronics is becoming ever more significant to computer, communications, and consumer industries. Integrated opto electronics has capacities to meet the performance and cost objectives of these applications by incorporating both optical and electronic components in a highly functional chip. It is the empowering technology with low-cost, variety of systems, robust optical components in end user electronics to high-performance broadband data networks capable of supporting video and multimedia conferencing.


Advanced light management and mechanical flexibility have enlarged great attentions in scheming high performance, flexible thin film photovoltaic for the awareness of building-integrated optoelectronic devices and portable energy sources. Integrated opto electronics is expected to play a key role in the evolution of telecommunications networks.


Military Optoelectronics

Opto-electronics has recently become an important and significant technology for defence applications. The developments in night vision, thermal imaging, laser instrumentation and fibre optics have reached a stage where it is possible to provide an all weather, all time capability for surveillance, reconnaissance and survey of targets from ground aircrafts and satellites. Integrated military systems are expected to be available based on the combination of advanced passive and active detection, vision and imaging technology as against subsystems tailored specifically for a given guidance weapon system.


Opto Electronics Market

The optoelectronics market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.6% from 2020 to 2027 to reach $ 77.9 billion by 2027 from $ 41.2 billion in 2020.


The growth of the optoelectronic components industry is mainly driven by the increased use of infrared components in consumer electronics & automobiles, the long life & low power consumption, demand for improved imaging & optical sensing solutions in the healthcare vertical, and the suitable physical properties of optoelectronic sensors to operate in harsh environments. The market is growing rapidly due to the increasing demand for optical solutions in the healthcare and automotive industry verticals, growing demand for smart consumer electronics devices, and increasing need for durable and low power consuming components.


However, high initial costs associated with manufacturing and fabrication are expected to hamper the market growth. The market is expected to witness immense growth opportunities from the proliferation of IIoT applications, advancements in Li-Fi technology, and innovations in optoelectronic devices.


Significant developments in the electronics industry and rapid growth of the Internet and multi-media communication networks are some of the primary factors driving the growth of the global Integrated Opto electronics market. Photonic ICs are also known as integrated opto electronics devices or planer light wave circuits.


The sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on public health as well as businesses. To stop the spread of the virus, governments worldwide imposed lockdowns, consequently shutting down on-premise business processes and manufacturing operations and disrupting supply chains and production schedules. This scenario led to a demand-supply gap of components required in residential and healthcare applications. The demand for optoelectronics witnessed a dip due to the shutdown of consumer electronics, automobile, industrial, and other manufacturing facilities across the globe. Moreover, Asia-Pacific being the hub of semiconductor manufacturing and China, the epicenter of the virus outbreak, led to huge losses during the first and second quarters of 2020. However, the market is expected to gain traction in 2021, with manufacturing facilities resuming operations at full capacity to meet the growing demand for optoelectronic components across various industry verticals.


There are certain restraints and challenges faced which will hinder the overall market growth. The factors such as lack of a skilled workforce and the absence of standards and protocols are limiting the market growth. Also, easily available and affordable substitutes for the technology is estimated to sluggish growth during the forecast period. Further, LEDs are both expensive and difficult to make. Additionally, aftermarket installation and high raw material cost are the potential restraints hampering the overall growth of the global optoelectronics market. Nevertheless, the advancements in technologies, increasing R&D in the field of optoelectronics technology, rising demand for electric vehicles, the advent of semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles, and untapped potential in emerging markets offer favorable growth opportunities.


Optoelectronics market segments

The global integrated opto electronics market is segmented on the basis of product type, application, and region.


Based on application, the optoelectronics market has been segmented into lighting, security & surveillance, communication, measurement, displays, and other applications such as infotainment, spectrometry, and scanning.


The measurement application segment is projected to hold the largest share in market during the forecast period. Measurement systems use optoelectronic sensors to convert light signals to electric currents and are used for applications such as machine vision, monitoring of process & operations, control of processes & operation, and experimental engineering analysis, among others.


An OMS detects light and uses this detection to estimate the 3D positioning of a marker via time-of-flight triangulation. OMSs are based on fixed cameras and can therefore acquire data only within a restricted area. Optoelectronics measurement systems are more accurate than other systems owing to which optical measurement systems are used for process monitoring and control across various industries and in machine vision and other applications, thereby contributing to the segment’s largest market share.


Based on end user, the optoelectronics market has been segmented into automotive, consumer electronics, aerospace & defense, IT & telecommunication, healthcare, food & beverage, energy & utilities, residential, industrial, commercial, and others, such as media & entertainment, retail, and government. The largest market share of the consumer electronics segment is attributed to the growing adoption of optoelectronic components in the manufacture of consumer electronics and advancements in electronic devices such as smartphones, high-end cameras, smart television displays, LED projectors, organic LEDs, photocopy machines, smartphones, blue-ray storage devices, and flexible 3-D displays.


The growing demand and increasing sales of luxury and ultra-luxury vehicles have escalated the optoelectronics market. The improving global economic conditions have changed the overall lifestyle of consumers. With increasing disposable income, the demands of consumers have changed in line with new lifestyles, leading to a change in their preferences. This has positively affected the sales of luxury and ultra-luxury cars worldwide. Optoelectronics devices such as LED lights, OLED and LED displays, and ambient lighting are the key highlights of the luxury vehicle segment. These devices increase the comfort and convenience of the vehicle. Along with improving visibility, they also provide a congenial atmosphere in the cabin, thus reducing driver fatigue and increasing vehicle safety. This is driving the global optoelectronics market.


Further, an increase in awareness about vehicle safety has boosted global demand. In a vehicle, optoelectronics devices can be used for occupant detection, drowsy driver detection, night vision, optical immobilizer, and remote keyless entry. Due to the increasing awareness about vehicle safety and government mandates regarding safety features, OEMs are providing many safety features as a standard fit in vehicles. Moreover, favorable socio-economic and demographic factors such as urbanization, growing population, disposable incomes, and rise in the standard of living have positively anticipated in propelling the growth of the global optoelectronics market.


Based on device, the optoelectronics market has been segmented into LEDs, sensors, infrared components, optocouplers, photovoltaic cells, displays, and others such as optical fiber, solid-state relays, and laser diodes. The sensors segment is further divided into phototransistors, photodiodes, photo relays, image sensors, optical sensors, and UV sensors. The large market share of the sensors segment is attributed to the high adoption of various sensors such as photodiodes, image sensors, and optical sensors across various industry verticals. The use of optical sensors in the textile industry offers improved safety; CMOS image sensors are used in cameras, spectroscopy, and LiDAR systems; and plasmonic color sensors are used for LED monitoring and colorimetry, among other applications. Thus, the adoption of various sensors across a wide application area contributes to the sensors segment’s highest share among devices in the optoelectronics market.


  • High-brightness LEDs (HB-LEDs) have reached the luminous efficacy of fluorescent lights and are in a position to be a major factor in the $100 billion global lighting industry. Since the end of the last decade, strong sales of HB-LEDs have gone into backlighting systems for cellphones, tablets, LCD TVs, and computer displays, but this growth has greatly eased with penetration rates reaching nearly 100 percent in these applications.  With production capacity growing, HB-LED suppliers are concentrating on cutting costs and improving the overall quality of light for general illumination products in homes, businesses, buildings, outdoor lighting, and other applications, such as automotive headlamps and digital signs.
  • CMOS image sensors have entered into another wave of strong sales growth as digital imaging moves into new automotive-safety systems, medical equipment, video security and surveillance networks, human-recognition user interfaces, wearable body cameras, and other embedded applications beyond camera phones and stand-alone digital cameras.
  • Fiber-optic laser transmitters will continue to be the fastest growing optoelectronics product category as network operators struggle to keep up with huge increases in Internet traffic, video streaming and downloads, cloud-computing services, and the potential for billions of new connections in the Internet of Things (IoT).


On the basis of product type, the market is segmented into single crystal silicon, polycrystalline silicon, and thin film. Due to the excellent property of porous silicon such as its photoluminescence, electroluminescence, wave guiding, and so on, this material has a wide scope of applications in integrated optoelectronic technology due to its high-speed optical interconnection.


Based on device material, the optoelectronics market has been segmented into gallium nitride, gallium arsenide, gallium phosphide, silicon germanium, silicon carbide, and indium phosphide. The gallium nitride segment is projected to hold the largest share in market during the forecast period. Gallium nitride (GaN) is a binary III/V direct bandgap semiconductor that is ideal for high-power high electron mobility transistor (HEHT) transistors capable of operating at high temperatures. The ability to withstand high temperatures and voltages makes gallium nitride ideal for imaging and sensing applications. GaN is used in LEDs, power devices, RF components, lasers, and photonics applications. Thus, the need for enhanced efficiency, minimized power consumption, and lower system costs contributes to the GaN segment’s largest share among other device materials in the optoelectronics market. Gallium nitride finds application in LEDs, which are widely used in general lighting and commercial lighting.



Technology trends

Optoelectronic devices have rapidly progressed. New technologies, materials, principles, and products are constantly used. Various new devices are constantly emerging, and device performance is constantly improved. From visible light to low-light, infrared, ultraviolet, and X-ray detection devices, the detection ranges range from gamma rays to the far infrared and even to the sub-millimeter wave band, and detection elements range from point detection to multi-point detection and two-dimensional (2D) imaging devices. The number of pixels is increasing and the resolution capabilities are also increasing.


The requirements of optical information technology are constantly prompting the frequency response of detectors. In addition, many fields require the optoelectronic systems be integrated within flexible, soft, stretchable, and wearable platforms. This is at the heart of the development of energy harvesting, smart textiles, surgical probes and tools, robotics and prostheses, and neuroscience. Both the United States and Europe invest significantly in this highly competitive field, because technological breakthroughs in the field will definitely bring revolutionary changes in many areas.


There is growing interest in the use of organic and inorganic micro/ nanomaterials in similarly unusual forms on plastic, paper, textiles, rubber, and other flat or curved substrates. Recent advances in mechanics and materials provide routes toward integrated circuits that can offer conventional electrical properties, rigid waferbased technologies but with the ability to be stretched, compressed, twisted, bent, or deformed into arbitrary shapes. Inorganic and organic electronic materials in microstructured and nanostructured forms, intimately integrated with elastomeric substrates, offer particularly attractive characteristics with realistic pathways to sophisticated realization of devices.


Since the turn of the century, optoelectronic technology has experienced a transition from unit devices to large-scale integration, and the large-scale photonic integrated chips have become one of the most competitive fields in the world. Given the integration trends of micro-optoelectronic technology, the size of optoelectronic devices is becoming smaller. Various new solid-state imaging devices have been successfully developed, replacing the traditional optoelectronic devices in many regards.


The rising need for high transmission capacity of optical fibers is the primary parameter responsible for the popularity of photonic ICs in industry applications. However, integrated opto electronics are still very primitive and the costs continue to be high. This is one of the factors hampering the growth of the integrated opto electronics market. Thin metal films are set to play an important role in next generation integrated opto electronics. High contrast grating (HCG) is an emerging element in integrated opto electronics. HCG has very rich properties and design flexibility. Silicon photonics technology has newly been utilized to CMOS fabrication and integrated platforms to build integrated opto electronics circuits on silicon substrates. Hard work is being undertaken by many establishments to upgrade their research and development to introduce innovations in this field.


Ultraviolet (UV) Optoelectronics

Developing new devices with enhanced material properties for UV detectors, light emitting diodes and lasers. Applications include sensing, water purification and monitoring, threat mitigation and communications.



Geographically, the market is segmented into North America, Europe, Middle East & Africa, Asia Pacific, and South America. The increasing demand for crystal silicon in automobiles, communication devices and others is driving the market for integrated opto electronics in the APAC region.


Asia Pacific is projected to account for the largest share in market during the forecast period. China, India, South Korea, and Japan are the major contributors to the growth of the market in Asia Pacific. The market here is likely to be driven by the evolving automobile, medical, and industrial manufacturing companies and also the rising demand for optoelectronic components from the overseas markets of North America and Europe.


In the Asia-Pacific region, countries such as China and India are aggressively opting for projects supporting the installment of solar power. This is indirectly driving the optoelectronics market. The International Energy Agency (IEA) suggests that rapid deployment of solar photovoltaics (PV), led by China and India, is helping solar power become the largest source of low-carbon capacity by 2040, by which time the share of all renewables in total power generation is expected to reach 40%.


The increasing spending from the consumers in Asia-Pacific is helping the optoelectronics-based products demand. The developments in display technology and increased demand for consumer electronics such as smartphones, display devices, digital imaging devices, and photovoltaic cells have helped Asia-Pacific take lead in the growth for optoelectronics demand.Additionally, the growth of the region in automotive, and healthcare sector combined with a growing demand for technologically advanced healthcare technology and automotive technology are expected to cement the Asia Pacific position in the global optoelectronics market.



The optoelectronic components market is currently dominated by Hamamatsu (Japan), Osram (Germany), TT Electronics (UK), Vishay (US), ON Semiconductor (US), Cree (US), Trumpf (Germany), SICK AG (Germany), Samsung (South Korea), Sony (Japan), and Broadcom (US). A few of the major strategies adopted by these players to compete in the optoelectronic components industry include product launches & developments, expansions, partnerships, and mergers & acquisitions.

Other players operating in the market are OmniVision (US), Micropac (US), Rohm (Japan), OSI Systems (US), Sharp (Japan), Renesas (Japan), Lite-On (Taiwan), SK Hynix (South Korea), Newport (US), and Himax (Japan). These players have adopted strategies such as product developments & launches, mergers & acquisitions, expansions, partnerships, and collaborations to grow in the optoelectronic components market.


Many players are active in the integrated opto electronics manufacturing market with extensive solution portfolios. Some of the key players operating in the global integrated opto electronics market are Zygo Corporation, NeoPhotonics Corporation, Achray Photonics, Lumerical Solutions Inc, Solar Frontier, Kyocera, Microsemi Corporation, ROHM Co Ltd, STMicroelectronics, Toshiba Corporation, and United Microelectronics Corporation among others.



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