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Research on optical communication systems indicates the future need for a compact, rugged, and economical medium for circuit realization. Encapsulated planar arrays of rectangular dielectric waveguides are attractive for this purpose. The individual guides would have dimensions on the order of a few micrometers while the planar arrays might cover an area of a few square centimeters. Integrated circuit technology appears adaptable to batch processing such circuits. Recent theoretical and experimental results are surveyed which support this viewpoint.