UK Photonics SWOT – Components

We are preparing SWOT analysis on 7 key UK photonics sectors.   The last draft of the SWOT for photonic components is below.  Comments for improvement are welcome. SWOTS for the other areas are found in parallel postings

Components

Unique UK aspect –

Strengths

  • Globally significant Integrated photonics research in both Silicon and III-Vs
  • Strong domestic producers of integrated and discrete III-V components and wafers
  • Established comms standards
  • Reputation for reliability and performance
  • High power, high reliability discrete components and coatings
  • Established volume production of data storage components and systems
  • Strong components and packaging design skills base
Weaknesses

  • Shortage of automation in packaging and reliance on off-shore packaging
  • Shortage of large scale silicon foundry in UK
  • Lack of standardisation outside comms reducing efficiency and cost effectiveness of automation
  • Fragmented component markets & high number of SMEs hampering application of economies of scale
Opportunities

  • Bandwidth requirements of communications and cost of point-of- care diagnostics (future) driving demand for integration
  • Packaging standardisation and automation for cost effective UK component packaging
  • Higher levels of integration
  • Engineered metamaterials and nanophotonics
  • Open access integrated photonics foundries in III-V devices
  • Large format optics for power, space and scientific applications.
  • Heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) and associated photonics
  • High bandwidth Data centre/ server farm communications
O&T

  • Use of standard CMOS processes
  • Difficulty in automating fibre handling.
  • Highly diverse yet fragmented nature of nanophotonics R&D
Threats

  • REACH
  • Investment required for integrated photonics and other components to reach necessary economies of scale
  • Access to strategic materials (e.g. Rare Earths)
  • Lack of volume UK component packaging reducing interest / incentives to develop automated packaging.
  • Lack of interest from traditional EU/UK Venture Capital funds in early hardware investment
  • Availability of regional focused funds for hardware investment in EU & devolved administrations but not in England

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