The global photonics market is worth more than $150 billion, according to research carried out by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics. The industry report, which also included data relating to photonics jobs, companies, and products, was presented at the annual meeting of New York Photonics (NYP) on 4 September. The results are expected to be a valuable resource for industry leaders, policy makers, and academic researchers wanting to demonstrate the impact of photonics.
SPIE’s latest report on the worldwide photonics core components market is part of its ongoing initiative. The first phase of the market research was announced at SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco, California, in February, and reported similar data for 1,008 of the more than 1,500 exhibiting companies at this year’s BiOS Expo and Photonics West Exhibition.
According to the organisation, the figures will provide a way for venture capitalists and policy makers to seek the best investment directions in order to ensure future economic strength and national security.
Presenting SPIE’s findings at the at NYP, market strategist Steve Anderson revealed that 2,750 companies in 46 countries make up the core photonics components market, generating $156 billion in revenues. These companies provide 700,000 jobs, and produce materials, LEDs, lasers, detectors, image sensors, lenses, prisms, optical filters, gratings, fiber optics, and other photonic components.
The data has been welcomed by industry audiences around the world, who appreciate the report’s transparency − an important factor for credibility − Anderson noted.
He added that being able to provide policy makers in particular with estimates about the jobs and revenue generated by the photonics industry is important, and it is already evident in Europe, where photonics has been identified as one of six Key Enabling Technologies (KET). The KET recognition has helped pave the way for photonics projects to apply for major funding initiatives, and has helped raise the profile of the field among young people planning further education and career possibilities.
The data comes at a time when lots of energy is being put into raising broader awareness of the field of photonics. Also on the agenda at the NYP was the United Nations-established International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies 2015 (IYL 2015), described as a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ chance to draw attention to the many ways optics and photonics technologies improve life, through applications in healthcare, security, communications, manufacturing, education, entertainment, and other areas, Anderson concluded.