Big datacenters, Industry 4.0, and personalized healthcare—all these rapidly growing markets have one thing in common: they need miniaturized photonic components. Such miniaturized, or integrated, photonic components offer solutions for sensing, data transmission, and data processing.
The technologies for manufacturing, alignment, and assembly of integrated photonic components are evolving. Often, the markets are small—and so are the manufacturers—and, therefore, investments in individual solutions rather limited. Therefore, a number of concerns must be addressed to enable further development of this promising technology.
First, the development of new integrated photonic components has to apply existing processes either from the semiconductor or telecom industries whenever possible. Both industries have established large-scale production processes and realize considerable margins with it. We all have seen the advent of fiber lasers for materials processing, a development that was based on technology for telecom components.