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Optical Sensors Support the Rise in Automation

Photonics Spectra
Jun 2018
Optical sensors — compact, flexible, lightweight, and able to withstand harsh environments — have been adopted across countless industries wherever high-precision detection is a must.

MARIE FREEBODY, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, marie.freebody@photonics.com

As automation becomes an increasingly familiar feature throughout numerous industries, demand for technologies to be smarter and offer more has never been more prominent — from manufacturing a smartphone in North America to installing a pipeline in Asia. Optical sensors act as transducers by converting light to electrical signals that can be interpreted, measured, analyzed, and manipulated by instruments. From surveillance and monitoring to fingerprint recognition, optical sensors are essential instruments utilized in industries ranging from aerospace and defense, oil and gas, and health care and construction to consumer electronics and automotive. The global optical sensors market size is estimated to reach $4.89 billion by 2025, up from $1.59 billion in 2017, and grow at a CAGR of 15.1 percent, according to a report by Variant Market Research, market analysts based in San Francisco. North America accounted for the largest market share, 32.4 percent, in 2017 and is expected to dominate over the forecasted period. The Asia-Pacific region should grow at a CAGR of 15.7 percent thanks to rising urbanization and investments in enhanced sensing technologies that can screen infrastructure for problems in industries such as oil and gas. When it comes to defense, optical sensors are used in night-vision cameras and to monitor boundaries. With a wide wavelength range — from UV to IR — they are ideally suited to detect intruders. This wavelength range also means that optical sensors can peer under human skin to look at blood vessels. As biological sensors, their high sensitivity and speed is vital to detecting bacteria and viruses. Optical sensors are also used for chemical sensing and have even been used to detect molecules within single cells. “The global optical sensors market is observing exponential growth [in] recent decades, owing to high demand of optical sensors across various industries,” said Rakesh Singh, senior manager at Variant Market Research. “[However], lack of standardization may remain a challenge for the growth of the market.”

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GLOSSARY
artificial intelligence
The ability of a machine to perform certain complex functions normally associated with human intelligence, such as judgment, pattern recognition, understanding, learning, planning and problem solving.
opticsoptical sensorsautomationtransducersIndustry 4.0IOTcyber-physical systemsMarie FreebodyClear IDGPSWiFiartificial intelligenceAMOLEDOz Opticsfiber optic sensingVariant Market researchFeatures

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