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photonics, the science and technology based on and concerned with the controlled flow of photons, or light particles. It is the optical equivalent of electronics, and the two technologies coexist in such innovations as optoelectronic integrated circuits. Photonic applications include data storage (using optical disks and holograms), data transmission (see fiber optics), experimental optical computers, optical switches and light modulators (for signal processing and interconnection), and a photonic gyroscope used in commercial aircraft that has no moving parts.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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