What: Photonic integration or photonic integrated circuits
Why you should care: Photonic integration is an optical innovation 30 years or so in the making that still hasn't seen its big break. Photonic integrated circuits (PICs) are the optical cousins of electrical integrated circuits, and integrate multiple photonic signal on an optical wavelength, leading to more integrated, less expensive optical components and network equipment.
Who is making them: Infinera and Ignis Photonyx are two examples of PIC vendors. Many larger vendors may have short-circuited their PIC developments during the last industry downturn, but current carrier demand for less expensive 40 Gbps transport gear may drive further innovation and commercial success.