Pioneer Consulting predicts Optical IC sales to net $5.4 billion by 2006

June 26, 2002--Integrated Circuits (ICs) used in optical switches will represent a $5.4 billion market opportunity by 2006, claims Pioneer Consulting in its latest report, "Optical Chips: Enabling Technologies and Markets from Semiconductors to MEMS, Nano-Optics, and Photonic Crystals."

Jun 26th, 2002

Integrated Circuits (ICs) used in optical switches will represent a $5.4 billion market opportunity by 2006, claims Pioneer Consulting in its latest report, "Optical Chips: Enabling Technologies and Markets from Semiconductors to MEMS, Nano-Optics, and Photonic Crystals."

Total worldwide optical IC sales will grow from $654.3 million in 2002 to $5,439.8 million by 2006.

But which chip technology, nanotechnology, MEMS, or semiconductors, will capture the majority of sales? Currently, semiconductor-based ICs enjoy a wide lead over integrated optical chips based on MEMS, Nanotechnology, and related technologies. But will this clear lead last?

MEMS (Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems) chips, manufactured by companies such as Agilent, Silicon Light Machines, Network Photonics, and Umachines, offer a clear challenge to semiconductor-based ICs in the small port count, optical switch market, contends the report, though it remains to be seen whether advances in MEMS technology will extend the challenge to larger optical switches.

Nanotechnology has been heralded by some as a breakthrough technology that could eventually sound the death knell of semiconductor-based components used in optical networking. Are these claims merely hype? Will in fact the subwavelength optical elements (SOEs) developed by companies such as NanoOptics revolutionize the optical chip industry and succeed in dramatically lowering the cost of optical networking equipment? asks the report.

"Moore's first law that roughly states that the number of transistors on a semiconductor based chip doubles every two years or so is not played out by any means," contends Paul Kellett, senior director of research at Pioneer. "This suggests that the dominance of semiconductor-based chips will continue for some time to come. But the question is how long will the market dominance of semiconductor-based chip manufacturers, such as Intel, IBM, Agere Systems and Broadcom, continue? Moore's second law indicates that doubling processor capacity will become increasingly cost prohibitive. At some point that is certain to afford optical chips-based MEMS, nanotechnology and related technologies an important competitive advantage," he says.

For more information about Pioneer Consulting LLC (Boston), visit the company's Web site at www.pioneerconsulting.com or e-mail info@pioneerconsulting.com.

More in Business