Optical sensors

The potential of miniaturised optical sensors for tomorrow's technologies

The rising significance of miniaturised optical sensors

Miniaturised optical sensors are becoming increasingly vital in various industries, including the Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities, and healthcare. These sensors play a crucial role in data collection, resource optimisation, and environmental monitoring, with applications ranging from personalised healthcare to the automotive sector and data-sharing in our data-driven society.

The global optical sensor market reached an impressive US$ 27.4 billion in 2023, and with a projected compound annual growth rate of 12.8% from 2023 to 2033 1 , these sensors are on a trajectory to revolutionise various industries. Key sectors like automotive, electronics, healthcare, safety, and agriculture are driving the demand for optical sensors. The integration of these sensors with the IoT is reshaping the future of our cities and the environment 2 .

Optical sensors

The case for miniaturisation

While optical sensors have become the norm in many applications, their large and complex setups, demanding manufacturing and alignment processes, and vulnerability to environmental factors can pose challenges. Moreover, their bulkiness, power consumption, and the use of expensive components can make them costly. Miniaturisation offers a clear advantage by making sensors smaller and more integrable across diverse applications.

How do miniaturised optical sensors impact IoT, smart cities, and healthcare?

Miniaturised optical sensors are playing an increasingly vital role in our modern world, particularly in the realms of IoT, smart cities, and healthcare. These sensors contribute to data collection, resource optimisation, and environmental monitoring, spanning from personal healthcare and wearables to advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) in the automotive sector 2 , 3 .

In a data-driven society, they enable faster, more accessible, and cost-effective data sharing and telecommunication.

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The versatility of optical sensors

Optical sensors stand out for their versatility, speed, precision, remote capabilities, non-intrusive analysis, and non-destructive testing. Their ability to convert light signals into valuable data enables precise measurements and real-time monitoring. Miniaturisation further enhances their integration into existing devices and systems, resulting in improved functionality, performance, energy efficiency, and cost savings.

Navigating challenges

Developing miniaturised and integrated optical sensors is not without its challenges. Silicon, the leading technological platform for integrated optical sensors 4 , faces limitations due to its mediocre optical absorption and emission capabilities. Integrating other materials such as Germanium, Indium phosphide, and 2D materials adds complexity and cost to the fabrication process 5 , 6 . Additionally, integrating optical components with compatible electronics and ensuring adequate packaging and protection of the sensor pose further challenges.

Other challenges include sustaining and improving sensor performance, minimising size and power consumption, ensuring cost-effective manufacturing, achieving scalable production, and addressing environmental factors through a delicate balance for high sensitivity and minimal noise.

AFRY's expertise and solutions

At AFRY, we believe that one-size-fits-all solutions fall short of meeting the diverse needs of our clients. Our commitment to providing tailored solutions is fueled by our understanding of the complexities and skills required in creating optical sensors. Our team of experts is prepared to support you throughout every project stage, offering a comprehensive range of services in product development and expertise across various fields.

We provide essential guidance on market-available components while staying ahead of expected advancements in the market. Rigorous verification processes are employed to guarantee your project's success, and in-depth market research keeps your strategies competitive. Our continuous research and development efforts ensure adaptability to ever-changing market dynamics.


Optics & Photonics

At AFRY we offer optical expertise and cross functional teams with experienced colleagues in mechanics, electronics, software and image analysis.

The AFRY optics and photonics engineers provide services within design, prototyping, and test and evaluation in our in-house lab.

For more information, please contact:

Tommy Nordström - Section Manager Software and Optics at AFRY

Tommy Nordström

Section Manager Software and Optics at AFRY

Contact Tommy Nordström

For sales enquiries, please complete this form. For all other enquiries, please visit our office and contacts page here.


  • 1. https://www.futuremarketinsights.com/reports/photonic-sensor-market a↩
  • 2. https://doi.org/10.3390/photonics10060698 a↩ b↩
  • 3. //doi.org/10.1002/adpr.202200133 a↩
  • 4. https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/silicon-photonics-116.html
  • 5. https://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/silicon-photonics-116.html
  • 6. https://doi.org/10.1002/smsc.202000053