Optoelectronics is a hybrid field of science that includes optics, electronics, and physics. The research in this area is geared toward the development of electronic devices that emit, detect and control electromagnetic radiation in one or more regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Optoelectronic devices are electrical-to-optical or optical-to-electrical transducers, meaning they convert electrical signals into light and vice versa. While the term electro-optics is often used in place of optoelectronics, it is not strictly appropriate. The former is part of a wider branch of physics that covers all interactions of electric fields and light, whether or not electronic devices are involved. Generally speaking, optoelectronic devices depend on the quantum mechanical properties of light interacting with semiconductors.

A course in optoelectronics will cover the broad topics given here, with much to learn within each one:

  • THE WAVE NATURE OF LIGHT
  • DIELECTRIC WAVEGUIDES AND OPTICAL FIBERS
  • SEMICONDUCTOR SCIENCE AND LIGHT EMITTING DIODES
  • STIMULATED EMISSION DEVICES - LASERS
  • PHOTODETECTORS
  • PHOTOVOLTAIC DEVICES
  • POLARIZATION AND MODULATION OF LIGHT


Each topic above covers an enormous amount of material, each one capable of being the subject of an entire book. Students can find a large collection of books on optoelectronics at textbooks-R-us. A somewhat more eclectic (and perhaps more interesting) group of books on this topic is available from the Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. Students interested in this area should be following the Journal of Optoelectronics and Advanced Materials.

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