Photonic integrated circuit (PIC) is a device that integrates multiple photonic functions into a single optical package. Unlike electronic ICs, which use electrons as data carriers, photonic ICs use photons. Since photons travel at the speed of light, they are capable of transferring information/data at a higher speed than electrons.
Growing demand for high data speed and transmission capacity, especially in data center applications, have led to a significant boost for the growth of the photonic IC market. Furthermore, significant benefits offered by PICs in terms of cost, size, efficiency, and power consumption is expected to expand their adoption across varied end-use verticals such as healthcare, industrial, telecommunication, data communication, and aerospace and defense. The design issues and packaging challenges associated with the photonic integration have somewhat limited the wide spread adoption of photonic ICs. However, the use of photons to offer high-speed data transfer and data processing for computation purposes provides a sound opportunity for the growth of PIC market.
Hybrid integration was the major integration technique used in photonic ICs, accounting for xx% of the global market revenue in 2013. Although hybrid integration is expected to remain the major integration technique, monolithic integration is expected to exhibit comparatively higher growth over the forecast period, growing at a CAGR of 26.5%. The growth of monolithic integration can be attributed to its ability to integrate medium-scale and large-scale PICs. In the case of raw materials used in photonic integration, indium phosphide (InP) and Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI) were the most preferred raw materials, collectively accounting for over half (60.9%) of the global market revenue in 2013. Indium phosphide is increasingly used as a substrate material for its capability to integrating both active and passive devices and components. Silicon-On-Insulator and silicon equivalents offering ease in fabrication and cost reduction are also widely used in PICs.
The optical communication segment, covering applications such as Fttx and access networks, optical datacom, and long-haul and transport networks, was the largest application segment, accounting for 58.6% of the global market revenue in 2013. It is expected to remain the largest application segment throughout the forecasted period owing to escalating demand from data center applications. Although the optical signal processing segment held the smallest share in 2013, it is expected to witness the fastest rate of growth, especially after quantum computing commercialization.