Optical Materials

Science  27 Feb 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4792, pp. 1003-1009
DOI: 10.1126/science.235.4792.1003


Optical technologies are becoming increasingly important in areas that were traditionally the domain of electronics. This trend is likely to continue into the foreseeable future with optics and electronics being integral, mutually compatible components of systems for consumer markets, industry, and defense. The basis of this progress is the development of materials that have the required purity, physical properties, and optical quality; glass fibers for optical transmission, semiconductors for lasers and detectors, and nonlinear materials for optical switching are examples. In this article, some of the materials of choice for a variety of applications are described and the frontiers of materials research for new areas of opportunity are discussed. Particular emphasis is placed on optical materials for the transmission and processing of information.