Decreasing cost of IR lasers to boost 3D sensing

July 15, 2019 //By Julien Happich
IR lasers
Consulting firm IDTechEx presents some insights from its recently published report “Laser Diodes & Direct Diode Lasers 2019-2029: Technologies, Markets & Forecasts”, where technology analyst Dr Nilushi Wijeyasinghe highlights the progress made in optical 3D sensing and its mass adoption enabled by the decreasing cost of IR lasers.

As a semiconductor technology matures and reaches mass production, a dramatic reduction in price is usually observed. Laser diodes are very compact and energy efficient semiconductor devices, which are available in many wavelengths from ultraviolet to long-wave infrared (LWIR). The average price per watt of continuous wave (CW) devices designed for high-volume applications decreased exponentially during the past few decades to a value of $2/W.

The evolution of laser diode price according to data collected
and analysed by IDTechEx. The decrease in laser diode price
enabled new applications in optical sensing. Image source:

In 2019, mass-produced laser diodes are available at prices below $0.10 per unit for bulk orders. Compared to light-emitting diodes (LEDs), laser diodes produce a coherent and collimated beam of monochromatic light, have a higher radiance (brightness), and are more energy efficient. Combined with attractive product pricing, the unique properties of laser diodes enable next-generation technologies in optical sensing markets and provide fantastic business growth opportunities. IDTechEx forecast the global market for laser diodes to reach a size of $12 billion by 2029, where the optical sensing segment grows by an order of magnitude during this period.

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