Electronic properties of semiconductor interfaces

Electronic properties of semiconductor interfaces

BOOKS & MEDIA UPDATE Carbon Nanotubes Stephanie Reich, et al. John Wiley & Sons (2004), 224 pp. ISBN: 3-527-40386-8 $130 / £70 / 105 The physical co...

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BOOKS & MEDIA UPDATE Carbon Nanotubes Stephanie Reich, et al. John Wiley & Sons (2004), 224 pp. ISBN: 3-527-40386-8 $130 / £70 / 105

The physical concepts needed to understand and investigate carbon nanotubes are introduced in this book. The structure and symmetry of nanotubes are discussed, as are their electronic and optical properties. Theoretical concepts and experimental examples of electronic transport, Raman scattering, and elastic properties are also covered.

Quantum Theory of the Solid State Lev Kantorovich Kluwer Academic Publishers (2004) 644 pp., ISBN: 1-4020-2153-4 $72 / £45 / 65 (paperback)

Kantorovich explains the quantum mechanics of the solid state for a broad readership of physicists, chemists, and materials scientists. The recent advances that allow properties of molecules and solids to be calculated in close agreement with experiment are covered, as are explanations of superconductive, magnetic, and dielectric properties. Mathematical techniques are derived and explained in the context of various physical concepts.

Electronic Properties of Semiconductor Interfaces Winfried Mönch Springer-Verlag (2004), 263 pp. ISBN: 3-540-20215-3 $139 / £77 / 99.95

This book shows how interfaces between metals, semiconductors, and insulators, as well as semiconductorsemiconductor junctions, determine the electronic characteristics of devices. Mönch describes the band structure at an interface using interface-induced gap states. This approach is used to explain Schottky barrier heights and band offsets of semiconductor heterostructures.

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Forgotten genius Basil Mahon’s biography reveals James Clerk Maxwell to be one of the all-time masters of physics, whose remarkable scientific output stretched well beyond electromagnetism and thermodynamics, says Richard Ansorge. This is a wonderful, short biography that gives a vivid account of James Clerk Maxwell’s life and work. All scientists will certainly be aware of Maxwell’s work in electromagnetism and thermodynamics; however, very few of us appreciate the depth and originality of his contributions across many areas of science. Born in Edinburgh in 1831, Maxwell was brought up at Glenlair, his father’s estate in southwest Scotland. By the age of three, his lifelong thirst for understanding the natural world was becoming evident; he would constantly plague his parents with the question: “What’s the go o’that?” He did not enjoy his early schooling that, in the fashion of the time, merely involved learning by heart with no attempt by the teachers to explain material. Having eventually decided that Greek and Latin were worth learning, he began to excel and became a star pupil. He started to make friends and his talent for mathematics blossomed, writing his first scientific paper at the age of 14. Maxwell attended university in Edinburgh and then Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1854 with exceptional results in mathematics. From this point on, he never looked back and spent the rest of his life in scientific research. During his career he held posts in London, Aberdeen, and Cambridge. His scientific output is remarkable for both its quantity and quality, truly laying the foundations for much of modern physics. For example, he was fascinated all his life by color vision and was the first to suggest that the human eye had receptors for three colors. He devised many ingenious experiments to explore this theory, taking the world’s first color photograph in 1861. Maxwell also made enormous contributions to statistical physics. He was the first to realize that gas molecules would have a distribution of velocities and derived the distribution that bears his name. He made many further contributions to this field and had an enduring collaboration with Ludwig Boltzmann. Maxwell’s work on electromagnetism spanned the period 1855-1865. Mahon gives an excellent account

of the evolution of Maxwell’s thinking and shows how the prevailing Newtonian ‘action at a distance’ theories were replaced with a local field theory from which modern variants, such as the standard model in high energy physics, are direct descendants. The last eight years of his life, 1871-1879, were spent in Cambridge as the first head of the newly founded Cavendish Laboratory. He was much concerned with the design and equipping of the lab, and introduced the then novel idea of practical demonstrations, as well as encouraging young researchers. Mahon also tells us about Maxwell the man; he is revealed as having overwhelming enthusiasm for all life has to offer. For instance, a love of horse riding led him to spend what time he could in Glenlair. Above all, he was supported in all he did by his wife Katherine Mary Dewar, whom he married in 1858. The final chapter contains a fascinating summary of Maxwell’s legacy and discusses why he received relatively little recognition, both in his own lifetime and subsequently. In a nutshell, Maxwell was ahead of his time in many areas of physics and was reluctant to promote his own work too aggressively without good Basil Mahon The Man Who Changed Everything: The Life of James Clerk Maxwell John Wiley & Sons (2003), 254 pp., ISBN: 0-470-86088-X $27.95 / £18.99 / 28.50

experimental evidence. Such wisdom is all too rare, but Maxwell always believed in the importance of experiment. His attitude is summed up by his statement: “I never try to dissuade a man from carrying out an experiment; if he does not find what he wants, he may find out something else.” Maxwell emerges as one of the all-time masters of physics; he ranks as an equal to Newton, Einstein, and Feynman. This book is essential reading for all those with a reverence for the subject. Richard Ansorge is academic librarian of the Rayleigh Library at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK.

June 2004

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