A market review forecast of free-space and in-line optical isolators used in communication and specialty applications
This is the ElectroniCast global forecast of consumption of free-space and in-line (fiber-to-fiber) optical isolators used in communication and specialty applications.
This market study report provides the Consumption Value (US$, million), Quantity (number/units), and Average Selling Prices (ASP $, each). The value is determined by multiplying the number of units by the average selling price. The ASPs are based on the price of the optical isolator at the initial factory level. The market data are segmented into the following geographic regions, plus a Global summary:
The ElectroniCast global optical isolator market is segmented into the following major application categories:
Optical isolators are passive devices that allow light to be transmitted in only one direction. They are most often used to prevent any light from reflecting back down the optical fiber, as this light would enter the source and cause backscattering and feedback problems. This is especially important for high data rate transceivers and transponders, or those devices requiring long span lengths between transceiver pairs. Optical feedback degrades signal-to-noise ratio and consequently bit-error rate. Ideally an isolator would pass all light in one direction and block all light in the reverse direction.
Optical isolators transmit light in the forward direction and blocks light from passing in the reverse direction. It is regarded an essential optical components in medical, industrial, and research lasers for blocking reflection beams that cause optical damage and noise. It is also used as a fiber optic communicative light intensifier to expand the lifespan of devices and improve transmission quality.
Inline fiber optical isolators are typically designed in pigtail fashion; therefore, they come with built-in fiber optic cable and (optional) connectors so that they may be integrated directly into a fiber optic system. Free space isolators, by contrast, usually do not have an integral connection system (some free-space units are available with pigtails); typically, they are directly mounted to the object that needs isolation. Important specifications for optical isolators include center wavelength, isolation, insertion loss, and polarization dependant loss. Center wavelength is the center of the wavelength range in which the isolator is designed to function optimally. This characteristic is usually measured in nanometer (nm). Isolation, generally measured in decibels (db), is a measure of how effectively back reflections are prevented and the degree to which the isolator can transmit. Insertion loss is the attenuation caused by the insertion of an optical component. Polarization dependant loss is the attenuation caused by polarization.
Optical isolators are used in many applications in commercial, industrial, and laboratory settings. They are reliable devices when used in conjunction with fiber optic amplifiers, fiber optic ring lasers, fiber optic communication systems, and high-speed/ DWDM and coherent fiber optic links, laboratory R&D, sensors, gyro-systems, test/instrumentation measurement quality assurance applications in automation of manufacturing processes. Single polarization fiber optic isolators are also used with laser diodes, gyroscopic systems, various optical modular interfaces; laser diode integrated optic modulator interfaces and a variety of other mechanical control applications.
The fiber optics industry is now observing an increase in the consumption of the transmitter/receiver optical communication links and other relative devices, which facilitate a strong environment for the use of optical isolators.
Domestic consumption includes imported optical isolators (not embedded in modules/devices or higher level assembly when shipped), as well as isolators produced in domestic facilities for end use by that country or used in modules/devices produced for domestic consumption or export.
Stephen Montgomery, MBA in Technology Management, President at ElectroniCast Consultants. He joined ElectroniCast in 1990 and has specialized in photonics and fiber optic components market & technology forecasting at ElectroniCast for over 25-years. He has given numerous presentations and published a number of articles on optical communication markets, technology, applications and installations. He is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of LIGHTWAVE magazine (PennWell Publishing) and writes a monthly article covering the optical communication industry for OPTCOM Magazine in Japan (Kogyo Tsushin Co., Ltd.).