Since the late 1950's, the discovery and invention of new electronic semiconductor materials and the drastic reduction in the size of electronic devices has moved at a rapid pace. As a result, the speed of electronic devices (particularly electron device production, his predictions have been met or exceeded. The push for smaller dimensions, which allow for increased functionality and faster devices, also creates problems of long term reliability and heat dissipation. New device designs, new materials, and lower voltages are being employed to make the next generation of devices.
One extremely important area of semiconductor technology is the field of telecommunications. The new "Information Super Highway" requires technology which can transmit and receive information at high rates. One approach which is already being applied to this area is optoelectronics or the use of light to transmit information. Electrons are used to transfer information within computers, but most information sent over long distances uses light pulses traveling through fiber optic cables. The laser diodes which create these pulses and semiconductor receivers that detect the pulses are areas of intensive research.
It is clear that semiconductor technology has and will continue to play a major role in the development of the information age.