Fiber Optic Sensors

Published - Oct 2008| Analyst - Lori Weisenbach Cornett| Code - IAS002D
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Report Highlights

  • The U.S. fiber optic sensor market was valued at $235.0 million in 2007. This is expected to reach $430.0 million in 2009 and $1.6 billion in 2014, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.1%.
  • Intrinsic sensors, in which the fiber itself acts as the sensor, have the larger market share, worth $170.0 million in 2007 and an estimated $306.0 million in 2009. This segment should reach $1.4 billion in 2014, a CAGR of 35.2%.
  • Extrinsic sensors, in which the fiber is simply the means of signal transmission, generated $65.0 million in 2007 and an estimated $124.0 million in 2009. This segment is expected to reach $219.0 million in 2014 for a CAGR of 12.1%.


This BCC study analyzes the status of global markets for fiber optic sensors. Fiber optic sensors (FOSs) began as a by-product of optical fiber research and development. The first sensors were designed to measure the performance and status of an optical network. Optical networks transmit voice and data across the U.S. and around the world. The networks require constant monitoring to ensure signal transmission along the fibers in the network.
Faults or flaws along the length of the fiber affected the characteristic of the transmitted signal in measurable ways. Differences in temperature, strain, and pressure can be measured over long distances. The ability to multiplex a large number of wavelengths along a single fiber offers a means to gather a large amount of data from a single fiber. 
With the ability to operate in harsh environments and imperviousness to electromagnetic interference, FOSs can be applied in conditions in which electronic sensors fail. The cost of FOS technology remains higher than electronic sensors, thus FOSs have penetrated only where the unique advantages of FOSs justify the higher expense, or in which they are the only option for the conditions. 
This report considers market conditions and opportunities in regional areas around the globe.  The report also considers the potential new applications that will emerge in the next 5 years. The slowing of the telecom sector has led to attempts to leverage the optical fiber sensor technology developed for one application into new applications.
Optical fiber sensors measure temperature; pressure, humidity, acceleration, and strain, and can operate in harsh conditions. This report considers the different types of sensor, what they can measure, and where they are used. 
In addition to telecom applications, optical fiber sensors are used in oil and gas services, medicine, defense, and aerospace applications. Fiber optic sensors represent a disruptive technology within the oil and gas market, as they opened an entire new revenue stream for service providers. 
Although familiarity with fiber sensor technology has increased and sensor prices have decreased, fiber sensors still find most application in areas where electronic sensors cannot compete. In cases in which fiber optic sensors attempt to replace existing electronic technology that meets the defined need adequately and for lower cost, the electronic option still dominates. Cost and unfamiliarity remain the primary barriers to fiber optic sensor growth into new applications.
This report provides a standard 5-year planning cycle and revenue estimates through 2014. It defines product segments for optical coating technology categories, analyzes technology options, and determines current application markets as well as likely future opportunities.  
Additionally, this report defines and graphically analyzes these fiber optic sensor markets from many perspectives, categorizes and profiles the companies involved, defines unique nomenclature, and details policy organizations, conferences, authors, and consortiums.
The world has benefited immensely from the development of electronic technology and sensors. But electronics have several inherent limitations in terms of ultimate speed of function and environmental limitations on performance. Optical technologies offer the promise of faster speeds and the ability to operate under harsher conditions. However, before an optical revolution can occur, supporting technologies such as sensors must be developed. 
Fiber optic sensor technology represents a critical feedback technology that will be applied in optical devices and systems, existing and yet to be developed. As sensing options increase, engineers and developers will be able to make all optical systems a future reality. Sensors may not be the most buzz-worthy market, but they are essential.
This report is a complete market information source for serious players in the fiber optical sensors marketplace. Network system integrators will use this report to assess the status of the fiber optic sensor market in order to identify suppliers and systems integrators, and forecast the future markets. 
Market managers will be able to assess the competition and identify customers and new suppliers for components. Management consultants will determine whether companies divest or invest in fiber optic technology based in part on the market projections, competitive strengths, and development issues revealed in this report.
Equipment managers will develop or modify existing products to address the fiber optic technology manufacturing concerns discussed in this report. Material suppliers will identify market opportunities and new customers based on the study’s projected growth in applications. 
Venture capital managers will identify targets for investments, mergers, or acquisition based on companies identified and described in this report. Strategic planners will identify other companies with critical strains to strategically partner with so they can share in the overall fiber optic technology growth as projected in this report.
This BCC business opportunity report covers, with a critical eye, the global fiber optic sensors marketplace. It focuses particularly on the markets and opportunities for fiber optic sensors in telecommunications, oil and gas exploration and drilling, medical, and industrial markets. The study considers future opportunities for new application markets.
This study is presented in easy-to-follow sections that overview this subject, define the technology, segment the market by product type and application, profile companies, and identify suppliers. All dollar amounts are expressed in current 2008 U.S. dollars.
Materials and data presented in this report were obtained from telephone interviews with marketing and engineering personnel at the major companies profiled, as well as from catalogs, the Internet, patterns, and the literature search of current articles related to optical fiber sensors technology.
The analysis and conclusions presented in this study are the result of significant research into both producers and users of fiber optic sensor technology, based on both primary and secondary research sources.
The author received a Ph.D. in material science and engineering from the University of Arizona in 1993, based on a dissertation on the fabrication and characteristics of sol gel optical waveguides. She then worked for 2 years at Sandia National Labs on the development of thin film zeolite filters for gas separation applications. Since 1996, she has covered the transportation market as both a contributing editor and editor of Advanced Transportation Technology News and authored numerous reports in advanced materials and transportation for BCC Research.

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Published - Nov-2005| Analyst - Lori Weisenbach Cornett| Code - IAS002C

Report Highlights

  • In 2005, total worldwide revenues for fiber optic sensors are projected to increase to $288.1 million, and to $304.3 million in 2006. Revenues are expected to increase at a modest average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 4.1% to $371.8 million in 2011.
  • Extrinsic sensors are forecast to increase at an AAGR of 4.1% until 2011, to $274.4 million.
  • Intrinsic sensors will rise from $79.9 million in 2006 to $97.4 million in 2011 at an AAGR of 4%. The largest application segment for intrinsic sensors is military technologies that tend to be specialized, seldom leading to mainstream market success.
  • These moderate growth rates reflect the challenge to fiber optic sensors to find more mainstream applications.

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