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Optical MEMS to profit in non-telecom products

Posted: 03 Jul 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:in-stat? optical mems? telecom? optical networking?

In-Stat/MDR predicts that sales of optical MEMS, into segments other than telecommunications, will grow at a CAGR of 15.8 percent over the next five years. According to In-Stat, optical MEMS have found significant traction in an increasingly greater number of applications. The market research firm said that optical MEMS are seen to be extremely well suited to products that demand high-quality imaging and/or utilize lasers, and where their small form factor can open the door to new market opportunities.

"Over the course of the past year, many of those developing MEMS-based telecom solutions have made a last ditch effort to capture more immediate opportunities in other markets because optical networking applications have slipped beyond reach for the near future," said Marlene Bourne, a senior analyst with In-Stat. "However, as these companies quickly discovered, it is not as easy as it might seem at first glance." Despite the fact that next-generation imaging systems and optical networking both use MEMS mirrors, the architectures required for displays are quite dissimilar from those used for optical switching. As such, the companies involved in optical MEMS (beyond telecom) are very different from those that have made a name for themselves in optical networking."

Meanwhile, In-Stat said that the biggest application for optical MEMS is a variety of display sub-systems, including those that are portable, integrated, and wearable. Other areas benefiting from these devices include bar code scanning, adaptive optics systems, and commercial printing, to name just a few.

Further, much of the real movement of optical MEMS into markets beyond telecom has occurred only very recently. While mirror arrays have made the biggest splash to date, deformable mirrors and micro lens arrays have been quietly moving into the market.

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