Increased adoption of biometrics security in mobile phones, close-circuit television and other consumer applications has spurred revenue growth in the global market for infrared LEDs, from $201.5 million in 2014 to $241.4 million in 2015, writes Jamie Fox, principal analyst, IHS Markit.
While infrared LEDs grew 19.8 percent year over year in 2015, the overall infrared components market declined 9 percent. Osram, Everlight and Vishay were the leading suppliers in 2015.
The forecast compound annual growth rate of 8.4 percent for infrared LEDS - from 2015 to 2021 - compares favourably to overall growth in total infrared component of 4.2 percent. The total market also includes slower-growth categories like photodiodes and phototransistors, Infrared Data Association (IrDA) transceivers and infrared receivers, according to IHS.
Infrared LEDs have been traditionally used in industrial light curtains, smoke detectors and other low-growth, mature applications. However upcoming and recent growth is primarily caused by increasing use in closed-circuit television cameras and biosecurity in devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptop PCs and video-game consoles.
Another growing market for infrared LEDs is in touchscreens in point-of-sale terminals and ATM machines, where infrared LEDs are used along the sides of the display, so touch can be detected by the interruption of an infrared signal across the screen, rather than the actual direct impact of touching the screen.
Capacitive touchscreens as used in consumer devices are not as appropriate for these applications, because the constant use wears out the screens to the point where they become inactive, causing higher maintenance. Also, seamless smooth screens without raised edges are less important in these types of commercial applications, than they are in consumer consumer devices.