Lithium Niobate Modulators: Introduction

  • Lithium niobate is a compound of lithium, niobium, and oxygen. Its chemical formula is LiNiO3. Lithium niobate crystals is an important material used in the manufacture of mobile phones, piezoelectric sensors, optical waveguides, and optical modulators.
  • Modulators made of lithium niobate are considered the backbone of modern telecommunications, as they convert electronic data into optical information in fiber optic system.

Key Drivers of Global Lithium Niobate Modulator Market

  • Optical fibers facilitate prompt and deep connectivity. Thus, they are largely preferred, owing to limitations of ordinary cables, especially those which span the oceans or which are spread beneath the city streets. In the optical fiber technology, it is important that signal conversion between electricity and light waves takes place at a high speed. Thus, an electro-optical modulator is a critical element of this type of communication system.
  • Amongst all electro-optical modulators, lithium niobate modulator is highly preferred due to its robustness and high modulation rate
  • Optical fiber cables are preferred in various communication applications such as telecom, utilities, CATVs, military, and industrial, owing to their advantages such as increased bandwidth, immunity against electromagnetic interference, electrical isolation, and data security. Thus, rising demand for optical fiber cables is expected to drive the global lithium niobate modulator market during the forecast period.

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Lithium Niobate Modulators used for Millimeter Wave Imaging to Witness High Demand

  • Earlier, use of lithium niobate modulators was largely limited to telecommunication applications. However, with increasing R&D investments in the technology, these modulators are being used in several other systems.
  • For example, Harvard University has developed an electro-optic phase modulator that can work up to 220 GHz. It can be used for passive mmW imaging purpose at 77 GHz and beyond.

Bulky and Expensive Lithium Niobate Modulators to Hamper Global Lithium Niobate Modulator Market

  • Conventional lithium niobate modulators consume high power. They need drive voltage of 3–5 V, while a CMOS circuit requires drive voltage of around 1 V. Owing to this factor, separate power-consuming amplifiers are necessary to drive lithium niobate modulators, rigorously controlling chip-scale optoelectronic integration. This also makes the system bulky and expensive. This factor is projected to hinder the global lithium niobate modulator market during the forecast period.
  • However, owing to rising research and development activities, lithium niobate  modulators with CMOS-compatible drive voltage and low on-chip optical loss are expected to be manufactured in the mid to long term. Thus, the impact of this restraint is expected to significantly reduce by the end of the forecast period.

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Asia Pacific to Hold a Major Share of Global Lithium Niobate Modulator Market

  • North America is expected to account for a major share of the global lithium niobate modulator market from 2019 to 2027, owing to adoption of optical fiber cables by large-sized network service providers in the region, such as Verizon and AT&T
  • Also, the market in Asia Pacific is expected to register the maximum growth rate amongst all regions during the forecast period, owing to increasing preference for optical fiber cables for use in 3G and LTE networks and continuously growing penetration of fixed broadband service in households. Since optical fiber communication systems are integrated with lithium niobate modulators, rise in the demand for optical fiber communication systems would boost the demand for lithium niobate modulators in the next few years.

Key Players Operating in Global Market

The global lithium niobate modulator market is comparatively niche, with the presence of a few international as well as regional players in the market. A few of the key players operating in the global lithium niobate modulator market are:

  • Fujitsu Optical Components Ltd
  • iXblue Group
  • EOSPACE, Inc.
  • THORLABS
  • Lumentum Operations LLC
  • Gooch & Housego plc
  • Fabrinet Inc.
  • Beijing Panwoo Integrated Optoelectronic Inc.

Global Lithium Niobate Modulator Market: Research Scope

Global Lithium Niobate Modulator Market, by Type

  • 10 GHz
  • 20 GHz
  • 40 GHz
  • Others

Global Lithium Niobate Modulator Market, by Wavelength Window

  • 800 nm
  • 1060 nm
  • 1300 nm
  • 1550 nm
  • Others

Global Lithium Niobate Modulator Market, by Modulator Cross-section

  • Z-cut
  • X-cut

Global Lithium Niobate Modulator Market, by Application

  • Phase Keyed Optical Communications
  • Coherent Communication Links
  • Spectrum Broadening
  • Interferometric Sensing
  • Quantum Key Distribution
  • Others

Global Lithium Niobate Modulator Market, by End-use Industry

  • Telecommunication
  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Sensing & Instruments
  • Research

Global Lithium Niobate Modulator Market, by Region

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • France
    • U.K.
    • Italy
    • Spain
    • Russia & CIS
    • Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific
    • China
    • Japan
    • India
    • ASEAN
    • Rest of Asia Pacific
  • South America
    • Brazil
    • Rest of South America
  • Middle East & Africa
    • GCC
    • South Africa
    • Rest of Middle East & Africa

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  • Value chain and stakeholder analysis

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