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The trend in the development of digital and optoelectronic devices has been toward higher speed and smaller size, driven by the need for more powerful processors, computing systems, and communications systems. The formation of these smaller, more aggressive structures has been facilitated by improvements in our ability to fabricate and process materials. In many cases, new classes of devices, such as the modulation-doped field-effect transistor and solid-state lasers based on heterostructures, have resulted from the invention of new material-synthesis techniques. Some examples of these new devices were recently described in the July 1990 issue of this journal. Several papers in the present issue discuss some of the advances in materials which have made these devices possible.
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