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CIR Publishes Report for On-Chip and Chip-to-Chip Optical Interconnects

February 12, 2015

“Markets for On-Chip and Chip-to-Chip Optical Interconnects: 2015 to 2024,” a recent report from Communications Industry Researchers (CIR), found that chip-to-chip and on-chip optical interconnections are expected to generate $990 million in revenue by 2020. In this report CIR, an analyst firm for the optical networking industry, analyzes the latest commercial developments in the field as well as the progress made by related research teams, including investigations into the latest architectures, devices and materials that affect the future of on-chip and chip-to-chip optical interconnections.

The report covers a number of topics, including the rise of optical engines and how they fit into future chip-to-chip connectivity, the market potential of compound versus silicon photonics semiconductors, possible new materials for optical interconnection such as polymers or carbon nanotubes and the commercialization of CMOS-compatible products using 3D architectures or other solutions. Also included is a 10-year analysis that identifies commercial opportunities for optical interconnection at the chip level, where and when they will emerge and how much they will be worth.

CIR typically profiles important companies in the industry as well as leading research firms. A partial list of the companies discussed in the report is Aurrion, Avago, Banpil, BeSang, Cisco, Compass-EOS, Dow Chemical, Dow Corning, DuPont, Finisar, Fujitsu, Global Foundries, HP, Huawei, IBM, Innolume, Intel, Juniper, Luxtera, Mellanox, Molex, Nanoscribe, Novellus, NTT, Optalsys, Oracle, Philips, QD Laser, Reflex Photonics, Samsung, Samtec, SK Hynix, Skorpios, STMicroelectronics, TE Connectivity, Tokyo Electron, TSMC and Xilinx.

According to CIR the report is aimed mainly at marketing managers, business development executives and product managers within the semiconductor and data communications industries, as well as investors in these and related industries. The research firm included a few excerpts from the report in a press release announcing its publication:

  • Once Moore's Law scales down to the 5-nm node, copper interconnection will be dead. The addressable market for the optical interconnect links could then quickly run into the billions of units.  By 2025 revenues for on-chip optical interconnects will exceed $210 million.  All-optical environments such as optical crossconnects, optical backplanes and optical computers present a significant market for chip-level interconnection.
  • Chip-level optical interconnection can build on miniaturized optical engines, although optical engine technology is not scalable beyond a certain point.  Nonetheless, revenues for optical engines for chip-to-chip interconnection will reach around $775 million by 2020
  • To reduce the cost of optical interconnection, smaller, more powerful lasers need to be developed.  Moving beyond VCSELs in this way may eventually be possible with silicon lasers, quantum dot lasers, transistor lasers, polariton lasers or microtube lasers.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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