The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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As children, we fantasize about lasers that could blast a spaceship into smithereens. As adults, drinking gin and tonic outdoors on a summer evening, we’d settle for a much smaller laser to vaporize mosquitoes.

Jeff Hecht [left] is just the man to tell you how either one would work. He was putting the finishing touches on this month’s ”Ray Guns Get Real,” about the U.S. military’s program to create a massive solid-state laser, when some interesting news came out of Washington state: Researchers there had successfully tested a ”mosquito flashlight,” designed to kill the insects before they can snack on you. A team of astrophysicists formerly with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, including Lowell Wood, a protégé of Edward Teller’s, had managed to build a laser accurate enough to fry mosquitoes in midflight.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

1 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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