Science: Optoelectronics Arrives

A pocket-sized electronic calculator that almost instantaneously flashes answers in bright numbers. A tabletop clock that at the press of a button displays with lighted numerals the hour, minute and second in any of the world's 24 time zones. A transistorized depth-finder that tells the Sunday sailor in glowing red numbers exactly how many feet, or fathoms, of water lie under his keel. These futuristic devices, already on the market, are only samples of the dazzling consumer spin-offs from a totally new scientific field called "optoelectronics"—the marriage of modern optics with space-age electronics.

The journal Physics Today devotes most of its current...

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