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Many of the recently discovered characteristics and applications to electronics of surface elastic waves are discussed. First the propagation of various elastic waves at the surfaces of solids is considered, followed by descriptions of the many ways which have been demonstrated for transduction between surface elastic waves and electromagnetic waves. Surface-wave amplification, primarily in semiconductors, and wave guiding, focusing, and reflection are examined. The properties of these waves suit them for use in a number of applications, which are discussed, ranging from realization of electronic amplifiers, frequency and analog time-domain filters, and coding devices, to the modulation of light beams and the measurement of surface properties of solids. Many references to the recent surface-wave literature are included.