And Now, the Age of Light

Billions are at stake in the race to develop optics technology

A new era is dawning in the West, the era of light. Under city streets and beneath oceans, in commercial skyscrapers and recesses of the Pentagon, a host of new technologies based on lasers, ultrapure glass fibers and exotic new materials are challenging the wonders of conventional electronic gadgetry. In little more than a decade, these inventions have moved from laboratories to modern homes, offices and factories. With growing speed, the new technology promises to turn the electronic age into the age of optics, in which gadgetry built around beams of light becomes virtually indispensable. Says Robert Spinrad, director of systems...

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