Driven by Data Center Business, Silicon Photonics Industry Enters Early Explosive Stage
——In-depth report of optical communication industry
At present, the silicon photonics market is not too big. It is estimated that sales in 2015 will be less than 40 million US dollars. In fact, only a few companies have begun to ship products in the open market. According to market research company Yole Développements, the data center and several other new applications will bring a multibillion-dollar market for silicon photonics technology by 2025. Yole analysts pointed out that investment from venture capitalists (VCs) and several start-up companies in these fields has increased, showing that silicon photonics technology has reached the tipping point before the forthcoming large-scale growth.
Silicon photonics technology is still in its infancy in the country. Future optical communications vendors and semiconductor manufacturers are likely to benefit from the industry outbreak. It is recommended to pay attention to the optical device manufacturer Ascension Technology, China International Equipment (to be acquired by Suzhou Xuchuang), etc.; semiconductor manufacturers SMIC, Changjiang Electronics, and Tongfu Microelectronics. ν Data center traffic growth pushes the internal chip level of the data center into copper retreat: At present, the data center is mainly based on 40G and 100G modules. Cisco data shows that data center traffic will reach 5 times in 2020, and demand will drive data center to 200G and 400G. And other high-speed transmission evolution. The 50Gb/s copper circuit is close to the limit of transmission, and it is inevitable that the copper level at the chip level falls into the copper.
Compared to III-V materials, silicon photonics technology utilizes CMOS technology, which has cost advantages and is very promising in the future. ν The difficulties in the development of the industry are gradually being broken and may break out in the next two years: In the case of silicon-based lasers, the hybrid products of III-V materials and silicon optical circuits have been commercialized, and pure silicon lasers have already achieved laboratory breakthroughs; The problem of the power consumption of light instead of electricity was initially solved by IBM; both laid the foundation for the commercial use of silicon photonics technology. We are optimistic about the development of the industry. At present, Acacia 2016Q3 revenue reached US$135 million, and SiFotonics silicon PD/APD chip has shipped nearly 1 million units. Intel announced in August that 100G silicon photonics module was officially put into commercial use. The next two years will usher in an outbreak of high probability.
YOLE predicts that in 2018, the global optical chip and its packaged device market will reach 120 million U.S. dollars, and in 2024 it will exceed 700 million U.S. dollars, with a compound annual growth rate of 38%. ν The stronger the properties of industrial electronics, the trend of downstream customers entering the R&D manufacturing process: Si photonic technology involves production links such as “design-manufacturing-encapsulation”. At present, the entire industry has not yet formed a stable competitive landscape. Chips and packaging are the core links. The advantages of silicon photonics technology are even more evident in greater output and higher transmission requirements. The properties of industrial semiconductors are getting stronger and stronger. The input of electronics giants Intel, IBM, Cisco, STMicroelectronics, NEC, and Huawei Hass will determine the speed of development of the industry. There is a trend for downstream customers to enter the middle and upper reaches of the manufacturing process. Huawei, Facebook, Ciena and others also join the industry. ν Risk Warning: The progress of silicon photonics technology research and development is less than expected, and the risk of defeat in the competition with III races; IDC business development is less than expected risks.
Yole Développement shared the latest findings in its research report “Silicon Photonics for Data Centers and Other Applications”. The experts including Eric Mounier, senior technology and market analyst at Yole, and Jean-Louis Malinge, former chief investment officer at ARCH Venture Partners, and other experts all conducted in-depth analysis of the silicon photonics industry. At present, the silicon photonics market is not too big. It is estimated that sales in 2015 will be less than 40 million US dollars. In fact, only a few companies have begun to ship products in the open market, including Mellanox, Cisco, Luxtera. Intel, Intel, STMicroelectronics, Acacia and Molex are all leading players in this market.