SWIR market waits for game-changers

Update: August 11, 2023

The SWIR ecosystem is waiting for game changers to enable cost reduction and mass manufacturing of SWIR technologies – quantum dots, organic photodiodes, germanium-based technologies – to deliver efficient and low-cost imaging systems.

In 2022, SWIR imaging is still a niche industry. The Industrial segment is expected to have a 28% CAGR from 2022-2028, from $89 million in 2022 to $395 million in 2028, powered by steady demand and price reductions.

The defence segment will experience higher growth than previously expected, reaching $405 million in 2028 from $228 million in 2022, pulled by geopolitical tensions such as the Ukraine war and tensions around Taiwan and an increasing number of countries becoming interested in SWIR technologies.

“In 2026, SWIR can start replacing NIR imagers in flagship smartphones for under-display integration of facial recognition modules,” says Yole’s Axel Clouet, “this will drive a $2,074 million market by 2028, considering the complete 3D-sensing modules.

So, what’s next? Beyond 2028, SWIR could be integrated into lower-end smartphones and AR/VR headsets to increase performance of tracking cameras, 3D sensing, and even multispectral imaging in outdoor conditions.

SWIR in Automotive will be driven by ADAS , where SWIR provides vision capability in low light and harsh conditions and 3D-sensing capability. This market could reach $19 million by 2028.

Defence-oriented players lead the SWIR imaging industry supplying high-end products. SCD is the leader, followed by Sensors Unlimited and Teledyne FLIR.

Many smaller players have significant growth potential, like Sony, or companies making quantum-dot-based cameras, such as SWIR Vision Systems and Emberion, which have a price advantage on high-resolution and extended spectral range products.

Newcomers bring new disruptive technologies, like STMicroelectronics, TriEye, or Artilux, to address consumer or automotive markets.

Traditional CMOS image sensor suppliers can be game changers due to their high-volume production capacity and unique design and integration know-how. 

However, among them, only Sony and STMicroelectronics have already developed SWIR imaging technology, even though others may show signs of interest, such as Samsung and Omnivision .

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