2 January 2014

Chris Toumazou and Ian White

Chris Toumazou (L) and Ian White (R)

We are delighted to introduce you to the first issue of the 50th Volume of Electronics Letters. To celebrate the journal entering its 50th year of publication, we have created this special section to look back over the last five decades.

On page 3 we hear from former Editors Professor Peter Clarricoats and Sir Eric Ash. Launched in 1965, Electronics Letters was the brain child of Professor Clarricoats who, with the IET (or the IEE - Institution of Electrical Engineers - as it was then), pioneered a rapid publication model for the latest electronics research. Professor Clarricoats became the first Editor and remained at the helm for an immensely successful 40 years alongside Sir Eric who joined him as co-Editor a year later. We were both honoured to be asked to be a part of one of the most significant and highly respected journals coming out of the UK and to support the work of Professor Clarricoats and Sir Eric for several years as Honarary Editors before ourselves becoming co-Editors-in-Chief in 2006. Professor Clarricoats still remains in touch and assists with Electronics Letters as Founding Editor.

On page 4 we are also delighted to present a feature article from Professor Lord (Alec) Broers, former IBM researcher, Professor and later Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, Master of Churchill College, President of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering and Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Lords. During his PhD in 1965, Lord Broers rebuilt a scanning electron microscope to write patterns and created the first nanostructures in gold, tungsten and silicon, thereby laying the foundations for the extreme miniaturisation of microelectronic circuits. In the feature article, Lord Broers recalls this time and the excitement around the possibilities of the transistor in the 1960s, and he also looks ahead to the challenges and opportunities facing electronic engineers today.

We also present five papers published in Electronics Letters, one from each decade of publication. These papers represent just some of the topics covered in the journal and include the first announcement of the translinear circuit in 1975 by Barrie Gilbert, and one of the most highly cited papers in Electronics Letters: the first announcement in 1999 of a simplified form of the Bell-Laboratories Layered Space-Time technique - V-BLAST – which went on to be one of the most widely examined techniques in wireless communications research to date.  

Electronics Letters was set up as an international journal right from the start and, although English was the preferred language, submissions were also accepted in Russian, French, German and Italian for several years. 65% of the Letters published in the first issue were from British organisations but as the journal became more established, the number of Letters received and published from other countries grew rapidly. This was further accelerated when, in 1993, Electronics Letters became the first established peer-reviewed journal to be published in parallel online in a form that included full-text and graphics. Now it is a truly recognisable international name with papers received from over 70 different countries each year.

Since 1965, over 115,000 papers have been submitted to Electronics Letters, and over 43,000 of these have been published. The topics covered by the journal have evolved with the changes in the field as is evident in the article by Clarricoats and Ash. New categories of research have also appeared in which the application of electrical engineering has benefitted some of the global challenges such as health, energy conversion and sustainability. Electronics Letters has demonstrated that it is well positioned not only to continue to support the rapid communication of many of the core electronic engineering topics upon which it was built, but also to expand and to diversify as new interdisciplinary technologies and directions emerge.

Of course there are many people that have contributed to the success of Electronics Letters over the last five decades. The Editorial team at the IET has worked tirelessly to provide the best possible service to authors and readers. Many tens of thousands of reviewers have given their valuable time to assess and report back on the submissions to ensure that the quality is upheld. And, of course, the authors that, over the years, have expanded the journal with their latest advances in a huge range of ever-evolving and fascinating research topics.

We are proud to be co-Editors-in-Chief of Electronics Letters as it enters its 50th year of publication. The journal continues to build on the solid roots that it was given in its early years, and more recent features such as e-first publication and open access options allow the research published in Electronics Letters to become even more discoverable, even faster. We hope that we will be able to maintain the great respect and reputation that many have worked hard to establish over the last fifty years and that Electronics Letters will continue to be a world leader in rapid, quality publication for many more years to come.

Further reading

A PDF version (new window) of this feature article is also available.

Journal content

Cover of Electronics Letters, Volume 49, Issue 25

View all content

Browse or search all papers in the latest or past issues of Electronics Letters on the IET Digital Library.