Uncooled IR sensing market: a virtuous cycle

2018 could be the year when the uncooled infrared imager and detector market reaches a tipping point with the involvement of big companies. As a consequence, the industry is showing impressive volumes and CAGR . “The uncooled IR detector and imager market looks promising,” confirm Yole Développement’s analysts.

They announce an annual growth of 7% in value over the 2018-2024 period. For microbolometers, numerous commercial applications have driven the imager market growth. These include thermography, surveillance, PVS and firefighting. Most noticeably, shipments exceeded a million units in 2017, mostly due to FLIR’s Lepton core and SEEK Thermal’s success, heading to two million units in 2021!

Yole Développement (Yole) releases a dedicated report focused on IR imaging technologies. Titled Uncooled IR Imagers & Detectors, this technology & market analysis provides market data on key uncooled infrared detectors and imagers, including market metrics and dynamics.

It offers key technical insights into future technology trends and challenges. This report also delivers an in-depth understanding of the IR imaging value chain, infrastructure, and players. In addition, Yole’s survey presents an in-depth analysis of uncooled IR detector and imager commercial and defense applications.

The uncooled IR imager business is still driven by commercial markets which will continue to expand quickly, with a 15.8% CAGR between 2018 and 2024. These markets will represent 93% of all shipments by 2024. Thermography will have a 9% shipment volume CAGR during the same period.

“This application is a sure thing for the microbolometer market, with IR imagers used here for industrial and commercial applications including home diagnosis and hot spot identification”, asserts Eric Mounier, PhD, Fellow Analyst, Technology & Market, MEMS & Photonics at Yole.

Firefighting is an attractive opportunity with 20% shipment volume between 2018 and 2024. There is a very large potential market, with 37 million firefighters worldwide. PVS include portable binoculars, monoculars and sights for rifles. They are used in patrolling borders, law enforcement and increasingly for consumer outdoor use, including mountain sports and hunting.

Besides these companies, traditional uncooled infrared players still continue to be very active in terms of new products and technologies. Leonardo DRS launched its TENUM 640 core, based on a Wafer-Level-Packaged VOx microbolometer with 10μm x 10μm pixel size, making it the smallest, available anywhere. ULIS created a specific product for smart building applications, called ThermEye, and has been selected by Irlynx for smart building projects. FLIR, the market leader, launched many new products including the FLIR One Pro, IntelliRock III and Saros Dome.

Encouraged by four consecutive years of successful forums, which attracted more than 100 participants on average, the market research and strategy consulting company and its partner CIOE are proud to announce this year again, 4 different forums.

InfraRed Imaging will be part of this program. Each forum will take place beginning of September, in Shenzhen, alongside the 21th China International Optoelectronic Exposition 2019. These events present market and technologies within the photonics industry.