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The measured optical properties of the Eu chalcogenides are surveyed in an attempt to determine those aspects of the electronic structure of these materials that have been established. Optical absorption as well as optical and magneto-optical reflectivity data are discussed, along with the results of photoconductivity, photoluminescence and photoemission measurements and of magneto-optical measurements in the vicinity of the absorption edge. It is concluded that the fundamental absorption edge is due to the onset of Eu++ 4f to 5d transitions of the type 4f7(8S
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