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Tech Talk

Tell Me - What Are Optoelectronics?

Optoelectronic Technologies

Optoelectronics (or optronics) is the study and application of electronic devices and systems that source, detect and control light, usually considered a sub-field of photonics. In this context, light often includes invisible forms of radiation such as gamma rays, X-rays, ultraviolet and infrared, in addition to visible light. Optoelectronic devices are electrical-to-optical or optical-to-electrical transducers, or instruments that use such devices in their operation. Electro-optics is often erroneously used as a synonym, but is a wider branch of physics that concerns all interactions between light and electric fields, whether or not they form part of an electronic device.

The term optoelectronics is a specific discipline of electronics that focuses on light-emitting or light-detecting devices.

Light-emitting devices use voltage and current to produce electromagnetic radiation  (i.e., light). Such light-emitting devices are commonly used for purposes of illumination or as indicator lights.

In contrast, light-detecting devices, such as phototransistors, are designed to convert received electromagnetic energy into electric current or voltage. Light-detecting devices can be used for light sensing and communication. Examples of these include darkness-activated switches and remote controls. In general terms, light-detecting devices work by using photons to liberate bound electrons within semiconductor materials.

Source: Wikipedia