This group of materials is defined by its functionality. Semiconductors, metals, and
ceramics are used today to form highly complex systems, such as integrated electronic circuits, optoelectronic devices, and magnetic and optical mass storage media. In intimate contact, the various materials, with precisely controlled properties, perform numerous functions, including the acquisition, processing, transmission, storage, and display of information. Electronic, Magnetic and Optical materials research combines the fundamental principles of solid state physics and chemistry, of electronic and chemical engineering, and of materials science.
Nanoscale science and engineering is of increasing importance in this field. For example, researchers at Berkeley have used a remarkable growth technique known as Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD) to grow novel ceramic nanocomposites. In PLD, a target is vaporized by an intense laser beam, and the vapor condenses on a selected substrate.