Wilmington,Del.-Increasing need of more sophisticated means of communication is driving the demand for products and devices with high-speed and large bandwidth in data transfer along with low cost and high efficiency. However, the adoption of optical fibers and other optoelectronic components in the high end devices and applications involved high cost. This fueled the search for a cheaper base material and ended with silicon that began to be used for photonic applications. The advances in silicon electronics and photonics gave rise to the concept of silicon photonics. When compared with conventional electronics, silicon photonics provide 90% of its efficiency with one-third of power consumption, at one-tenth of the cost and no requirement of additional manufacturing technology. This makes it attractive for customers and lucrative for manufacturers.

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In 2008, the market size of global silicon photonics market was at $23.21 million that is expected to grow exponentially at a CAGR of 105.3% from 2009 to 2014 due to new products and applications that are to be commercialized in the next five years. The demand for silicon photonics technology is already created in the market and consumers are awaiting commercialization of products. The silicon photonics market is segmented into silicon waveguides, silicon modulators, silicon optical interconnects wavelength division multiplexer filters, silicon LED and silicon photo detector.

With high fragmentation and intense competition in the microelectronics industry manufacturers of chips and integrated circuits are working to improve the quality and reduce the prices of their products. Therefore, the expensive ingredients and large R&D investments required for silicon photonics act as a major restraint for the growth of this market. However, the evolution of the silicon photonics market into a mainstream market is expected to overcome all these restraints.

Early commercialization of products and high absorption rate of electronic products have made U.S. the dominant market in 2009 with a 56% share of the global silicon photonics product market. Increased research and developments in the U.S. companies have also helped in the domination of the silicon photonics market. Europe is estimated to be the second largest with 26% share of the market.
In 2009, wavelength division multiplex filters are expected to dominate the market with 31% share followed by photo detector with 20% share. The high market share of wavelength division multiplex filters is mainly due to its early commercialization.

The U.S has highest number of patents with 66% contribution. Out of 89 registered patents, 59 patents have been registered in U.S. This is mainly due to the extensive R&D and existence of major silicon photonics players such as Luxtera, Kotura etc. in the U.S. market.

The key players in the silicon photonics market include Intel, IBM Corp., Luxtera, Lightwire, Kotura, Sun Microsystems, etc.

Our analysis indicates that companies taking the first mover advantage by quick commercialization with extensive R & D will have an edge over their competitors. Agreements and collaborations as well as new product launches are some of the most popular strategies adopted by market players to stay ahead of the competition and to expand into new geographies.

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