The latest GaAs Optoelectrponics Industry Viewpoint, entitled "Compound Semiconductor Industry Review July-September 2011: Optoelectronics,” summarizes financial, product, contract and employment announcements from major optoelectronic material, device and equipment suppliers. These announcements are categorized as material and equipment, laser, LED and compound photovoltaic activity. During this quarter, the financial results for companies in the overall optolectronics segment were generally positive, with the majority of companies reporting quarterly revenue increases. There was a potential storm cloud on the horizon as leading equipment manufacturer Aixtron lowered revenue expectations for the year (2011) by 25%. When a leading equipment manufacturer in the very front end of the supply chain revises revenue and backlog expectations substantially downward, the entire segment takes notice. While mid- to long-term prospects for the LED market remain positive, continuing economic turmoil and rapidly dropping prices have manufacturers in the LED supply chain on edge.
Development activities across the entire sector continue to be strong. In the LED segment, blue LEDs appear to be in high demand. AIXTRON announced orders (despite the revenue warning) from several companies for equipment to be used in the manufacture of blue LEDs and Avago, Osram, Cree, Bridgelux and EpiLEDs all made product announcements of new blue LEDs. In the optical transport market, component developments targeted 10Gbps and above, while system developments also targeted data rates of 32Gbps and above. In this area, Neophotonics announced 10Gbps transceiver modules for GPON applications and a 40Gbps transceiver for 10km single fiber applications. GigOptix, Finisar, Oclaro and Mitsubishi Electric all demonstrated 40Gbps modules, with Oclaro announcing a 100Gbps receiver.
The photovoltaic segment also saw a lot of development activity with the US government continuing to jump-start alternative energy initiatives. The US DoE announced $4.5 billion of conditional loan guarantees to support three alternating-current CdTe thin-film PV generation facilities that will total more than 1.3GW of capability. They also announced round 8 of funding opportunities for solid-state lighting technology and a $197 million loan guarantee for facilities that will produce about 400MW of flexible CIGS modules each year. The approach seems to be working, as several activities previously linked to DoE loans made announcements in this quarter. These plants target more than 560MW of solar energy output.
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