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Global Photonics trends identified during Photonics West 2021

22-03-2021

New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), powerful computing chips, and camera-integrated lidar systems have enabled a host of novel sensing and imaging applications. Related products range from 3D sensing and facial recognition solutions to cameras capable of object recognition and classification.

An update on the growing range of applications of silicon photonics was given on Tuesday at Photonics West Digital Forum by Graham Reed, Professor of Silicon Photonics at the University of Southampton, UK.

The presentation considered three aspects of silicon photonics: high-speed optical transmitters - meaning 100 gigabits per second from a single modulator; comprehensive wafer scale testing of SiPh circuits, and a non-volatile method of programming them without the need for large power consumption; and the ORC's cooperation with San Francisco startup Pointcloud on 3D imaging via an integrated LiDAR system. The latter has demonstrated millimeter accuracy for measurements made at distances beyond 70m.

Lumentum, a developer of VCSEL arrays for 3D sensing and LiDAR applications, this week at  SPIE Photonics West Laser Marketplace announced new high-power and high-efficiency five and six junction vertical cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) arrays for advanced consumer, automotive LiDAR, and other 3D sensing applications.

The use of LiDAR and 3D sensing is expanding into new applications in the consumer electronics, automotive, and industrial markets. New applications and new functionality are driving the need for higher power and higher efficiency from smaller form factor devices.

In the industry outlook presented at SPIE the trends highlighted are shown below:

Trends 1

Source: Trends by Segment in 2019 by Steve Anderson, SPIE, presented at Photonics West 2021

Source: Photonics West 2021: Silicon photonics breaking new ground (optics.org)