Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Photonics: Lighting the Future!

Dwindling fossil fuels and global warming have led companies to search for renewable energy sources. Although alternative energy sources, like water, wind, and solar energy have been tapped, light has been recently recognized as an energy source.


Photonics - Insights

Photonics is a technology that can harness light as an energy source. It is the key to a myriad of applications. These include information technology, medical science, manufacturing, lighting, automotives, jewelry, and security.

Light accounts for nearly 20% of the global electricity consumption. Photonics help in powering laptops and internet. It may be used to study various wavelengths, ranging from X-rays to infrared light. The technology would be used to cure many diseases. Current “photonics” devices include emitters & detectors, Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs), optical interconnects, and Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VCSELs).

Latest Trends 

White LEDs produce light that is perceivable by the human eye. Researchers in Taiwan have discovered a way to drive down the costs of white LEDs. They have decided to use graphene and strontium-based Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) to manufacture white LEDs. Using these LEDs can save around 348 terawatt hours of electricity in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Defense. 

Li-Fi or Visible Light Communication (VLC) relies on light as an energy source to provide internet services. Scientists in Saudi Arabia have recently developed a light converter to make Li-Fi functional. This light converter, made of perovskite nanocrystals, acts as a medium to provide internet to stores & indoor cafes. It has the capacity to deliver consistent speed of 2 gigabit per second (Gbit/s).

Photonics Market - Overview  

The global photonics market is estimated at nearly USD 980 billion by 2024. It has gained prominence due to depletion of fossil fuels and search for renewable energy sources. Thin film photovoltaic PV, polycrystalline silicon PV, and dye-sensitized PV are the latest developments that enhance future demand for photonic components.

LEDs had close to 10% share in 2015, but they are anticipated to gain more share from 2016 to 2024 (forecast period) on account of policies that encourage LED use. Some of the key applications of photonics are in displays, medical & healthcare, consumer electronics, and safety & defense technology. 

Displays are projected to be the dominant application till 2024, owing to technological developments. Some eminent players in the worldwide market are Uvex Safety Group, VF Corporation, Innolume GmbH, and Hamamatsu Photonics. Photonics can be used in the future to understand the effects of light on cells.

In-depth research report by Grand View Research:

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