Your Ultimate Guide to the Photonics Industry

Did you know that in 2018, more than 4,000 manufacturing companies produced core components for the Optics and Photonics Industry? Have you been hearing about the photonics industry and are looking to learn more? We are here with this short guide to share more about what is photonics and the strong elements of the photonics industry.

Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of photonics and photonics products.

What Is Photonics?

In lamest terms, this is a physics branch that deals with the properties of photons. The entire market is made up of separate markets that are all based on different light technologies.

These are currently some of the strongest segments in the photonics world:

1. Laser Diodes

These are semiconductor devices that have the ability to convert electrical energy into light. The laser diode market includes optically pumped semiconductor laser and also injection laser diode. The injection laser diodes hold the biggest share of this market.

Most of the applications being used are for laser printers, laser scanning, range finding, medical use, welding, barcode readers, laser pointers, and vehicle headlights just to name a few. The leading part of the entire laser market is industrial applications. Even though laser systems have been running in factories way before manufacturing was connected through the internet and controlled online, they are now at the heart of connected manufacturing.

You can check out this article to learn more about the photonics conference coming up in the near future. If you attend the conference in person you can learn about current happenings in the industry and learn even more about what the future holds.

2. Night Vision

Most people associate night vision with military binoculars but nowadays night vision is being used in a lot more places. Night vision is found in surveillance and security equipment, fire fighting applications, and the automotive industry.

This type of tech includes image intensification, thermal imaging, and sensor fusion technology. With image intensification, visibility increases from near-wave to long-wave infrared. When it comes to sensor fusion technology, this produces an electronic format of an image that it transmits to a central system.

In this central system, it can be used for identification or for gathering data. The market for night vision goggles are expected to grow by 2025 because of the lower costs lately and the ease of night vision use.

3. Brain Imaging

Brain imaging needs have been on the rise because brain cancer rates and brain injuries have been on the rise. Also, our older population has seen an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Brain imaging systems are also used in diagnostics and in surgeries.

The leading technologies in the brain imaging market include fMRI, PET, and fNIR. fMRI or Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses blood oxygenation level-dependent contrast in their imaging process.

PET or Positron Emission Tomography injects a radioactive isotope that flows to all the areas of the brain that are going through heavy use. When the isotopes begin to decay a positron is released and then it collides with an electron which sends gamma rays in opposite directions and a PET scanner determines the origin.

fNIR is also known as Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy. This is an imaging method that solely relies on BOLD contrast just like fMRI. fNIR is more affordable and also more portable than fMRI. The main difference is that it is limited in the depth where it can measure cortical activity.

4. Integrated Circuits

Photonic integrated circuits are any device that has two or more photonic features. The market for this is in high demand at the moment because the demand for communications systems for the internet has grown so much.

These integrated circuits are used in quantum computing, biomedical devices, optical communication, and lasers. The current challenge is how complex the design might be and also the power consumption needs.

Right now some of the key players in this market include Intel, Avago Technologies, Hewlett-Packard, Luxtera, Agilent, and Te Connectivity.

5. Sensors

There are photonic sensors that help convert light into an electrical signal. This is being used in scintillation detection, lidar, spectroscopy, laser-induced fluorescence, and biological fluorescence detection. It is also popular in industries involving solar and wind, optical networks, and machine vision.

The use of photonic sensors will continue to increase over the next few years because of the need for speed, artificial intelligence, and also a high need for connectivity. Key players in the sensors world include Sony Corporation, Omron, Hamamatsu, and Prime Photonics.

6. Non-Destructive Testing Equipment

This is the process of inspecting, evaluating, and testing components, assemblies, or materials for any differences in characteristics but without destroying the use of the part or of the system. The main challenge currently is that there are not many skilled professionals in this niche and automated test equipment is currently pretty expensive.

Non-destructive testing is used in the energy, power, transportation, and automotive industries. With the increasing number of power plants the energy and power market continues to lead the non-destructive testing world.

Key companies in this market are Sonatest, Olympus Corporation, Zetec, and Mistras Group.

Feeling Like a Photonics Pro?

We hope that now that we went over photonics, you are feeling a lot more knowledgeable about the industry. This is definitely a huge and growing market because light-based technologies play a critical role in almost every aspect of our current modern lives.

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