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  • Nanophotonics market: Upward bound

Photonics Spectra
Oct 2009
Caren B. Les,

WILMINGTON, Del. - The value of the global nanophotonics component market is expected to reach $3.6 billion by 2014, experiencing a compound annual growth rate of 100.7 percent from 2009, according to a report published by MarketsandMarkets, a research and consulting firm in Wilmington, Del. A similar pattern can be expected for the nanophotonic devices market, which is expected to grow from a current market size of $1.8 billion to $58 billion in 2014.

Published in June 2009, the report, titled Nanophotonics – Advanced Technologies and Global Market (2009-2014), aims to identify and analyze products, applications and materials for the nanophotonics market.

Among the components and products addressed in the report are nanophotonic LEDs, organic LEDs (OLEDs), near-field optics, photovoltaic cells, optical amplifiers and switches, and holographic data storage systems. Nanophotonic applications include lighting, indicators and signs, nonvisual technology, telecommunications, entertainment and consumer electronics. And materials include photonic crystals, plasmonics, nanotubes, nano-ribbons and quantum dots.

Nanophotonics technology is expected to enter the mainstream market because of attributes such as low weight, high thermal stability, power efficiency and long working life, according to the company, which predicts a significant increase in the number of applications in near-field optics, holographic memory and optical amplifiers.

The company projects that the Asian market will hold almost the lion’s share – nearly 74 percent – of the total global nanophotonics revenues in 2014. The region dominates in the nanophotonics LED and OLED markets, which are expected to hold a nearly 80 percent share of the market by 2014. Asia, particularly the Asia-Pacific region, is already the hub for the manufacture of electronic and semiconductor devices, the company says. In upcoming years, it expects, Asia to dominate in the market areas of optical amplifiers, near-field optics and holographic memory as well.

The US and European market shares will likely see compound annual growth rates of 161.1 and 160 percent, respectively, from 2009 to 2014, according to the company. The latter two regions offer large consumer bases for nanophotonic devices.

Nanophotonic LEDs

The value of the nanophotonics LED market, the largest segment, is expected to reach $2.7 billion by 2014, up from $106 million in 2009, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 91.3 percent. The optical amplifier and holographic memory device segments are estimated to have a CAGR of 239 percent and 234.6 percent, respectively, from 2009 to 2014, according to the company.

In the nanophotonics LED market, the high-beam LED has the highest market share, followed by the UV LED. The major application areas for these components include lighting and traffic signaling, backlighting in electronic displays, artificial photosynthesis, medical technology, UV curing and counterfeit detection, the company says.

It also predicts that the optical fiber amplifier segment will achieve the highest CAGR in the period 2009 to 2014, followed by that of semiconductor amplifiers. It projects that the holographic data storage systems segment will have a CAGR comparable to that of optical amplifiers, and that OLEDs will be the slowest growing segment of the market.


Among the major challenges facing nanophotonics technology manufacturers are the high cost of integrating nanotechnology with photonic equipment and components, difficulty in justifying price increases for performance, the need for an experienced and knowledgeable labor force, and the extensive R&D costs for bringing in new products.

In the field, researchers are working on increasing product performance by using nanophotonics, cost-effective industrial integration of nanotechnology and photonics, and increasing the application bandwidth for nanophotonics.

The major issues facing the overall nanophotonics industry include upcoming technologies such as silicon and nanosilicon photonics, improvement in volume production techniques for nanomaterials, and cheaper and improved techniques for integration.

As for nanophotonic materials, the demand for their large-scale production is a challenge, as are health concerns associated with their use. Their high cost also is an issue, as is the increase in related R&D costs as the market for the materials becomes competitive.

The global downturn did not significantly affect the nanophotonics market because it already is a niche industry and has major applications in LED, OLED and photovoltaic cells – markets that have grown even in the downturn, the company says.

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