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"I realized there was a heavy-duty change coming in biology, and I could write a really compelling novel about catastrophic evolution, punctuated equilibrium."
- Greg Bear

Pressure Curtain  
  A force field that creates a barrier that people can pass through but air cannot - an airlock in a spacecraft.  

This seems like an early use of this idea; it predates the use of a similar idea in Star Wars.

The civilians were chattering among themselves - "But there's no air in here!" Staley yelled.

"Not here, sir," Hasner said. He pointed. "Some kind of box thing there, makes like a curtain, Mr. Staley. Air can't get through it but we can."

The Marine Gunner stepped gingerly through the invisible barrier. He had to push. "Like - maybe kind of like the Field, Mr. Staley. Only not so thick."

From The Mote in God's Eye, by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle).
Published by Simon & Schuster in 1974
Additional resources -

Here's the bit that names the item:

"...I haven't seen any miniatures with vacuum suits..."

"They can build those magic pressure curtains," Staley reminded him.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Mote in God's Eye
  More Ideas and Technology by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle)
  Tech news articles related to The Mote in God's Eye
  Tech news articles related to works by Larry Niven (w/J. Pournelle)

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