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The development of surface-oriented Schottky barrier diodes for use as detectors in heterodyne receivers for the microwave, millimeter and submillimeter regions has provided the potential for reliable, low-cost monolithic receivers and the possibility of receiver arrays. Applications range from radio astronomy, plasma diagnostics and spectroscopy to large military imaging systems. The development of surface-oriented devices is traced from the early work in 1968 to the present-day efforts underway in several laboratories. The approaches being considered by the groups that are working to develop surface-oriented device structures are described and contrasted. The utility and characteristics of improved materials growth technology, ion implantation and proton bombardment isolation, which have made the present surface-oriented devices possible, are discussed. Integrated monolithic receivers in which antennas, transmission lines, and other circuit components are integrated with surface-oriented devices on the same GaAs wafer are described.