Book Reviews

Surface Plasmon Nanophotonics

Mark L.Brongersma and Pieter G. Kik, eds.

Springer 2007; $159.00 (hardcover).


The rapidly developing field of plasmon nanophotonics influences electronics, photonics, chemistry, biology and medicine. Surface plasmon nanophotonic structures represent an exciting new class of photonic devices. This book highlights several exciting new discoveries in this field and describes the underlying physics, nanofabrication issues, and the materials considerations involved in designing plasmonic devices with new functionality.

The book is aimed at researchers and students interested in entering the field of plasmon nanophotonics, while serving as a reference to scientists who are already active in this area of research. It is written at the level of a first-year graduate student.

The book has 17 chapters contributed by nearly 50 authors. Because the topics treated in this volume are all very new and under development, some of the views may require further investigation.

Review by Hsiung Hsu, professor emeritus, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.

Engineering Optics, Third Edition

Keigo Iizuka

Springer 2008; $89.95 (hardcover).


I read the first edition of Keigo Iizuka’s Engineering Optics while I was an engineering undergraduate. It was an eye-opener—all the dreary mathematics and abstract concepts suddenly became lively and meaningful. Filled with humorous cartoons and illustrations, this book certainly brought out the “light” in optics.

More than a decade later, I was excited to read the third edition. Now as a professor teaching optics to undergraduates, I found this book most helpful in demonstrating an effective teaching approach that was especially suited for engineering students. It emphasizes practical applications of optical technologies. The mathematical derivations are complemented by insightful interpretations through illustrations and apt analogies. The examples and problem sets at the end of each chapter are also helpful to students and instructors alike.

Chapter 1 outlines the milestone theories and experiments in the history of optics from 4,000 B.C. to the present day. Understandably, there are many omissions, but the chapter’s purpose is to serve as an “appetizer”—in other words, to fascinate the readers and lead them to explore more in this field that is both ancient and fast advancing. The next few chapters, not significantly changed from the second edition, focus on the applications of Fourier optics in diffraction, holography and optical signal processing. There is a short section on computer-generated holograms. It would have been more helpful if this section were expanded in this edition, given the wide availability of powerful computers nowadays. There is also an interesting chapter on how to make holograms optically.

Chapters 13 through 15 shift the focus to photonic devices, primarily those used in optical communication, such as semiconductor laser diodes, photodiodes and integrated planar lightwave devices. Though some updates here would have made it better, the book’s focus is on the basic principles, and, in my opinion, it is quite suitable for an introductory level textbook.

The major addition made in the third edition is Chapter 16—3D imaging, covering a variety of techniques used for creating 3D vision out of 2D displays, with most illustrations in color. As with other chapters, Iizuka leads the reader step by step. Some examples of the fabrication of stereoscopes are nicely illustrated, and the chapter also includes the recent research advances made by Iizuka and industry collaborators in this area. Three-dimensional imaging is an interesting and lively topic because of its practical applications in everyday life. Iizuka’s illustrations and animated discussions make this chapter both literally and figuratively the most colorful of the entire book.

Overall, it is a delightful book, and I would definitely recommend it to students starting out on the path of exploring optical technologies and educators who want to enlighten young engineers fascinated by optics.

Review by Li Qian, associate professor, department of electrical and computer engineering, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Quantum Optics

D.F. Walls and G.J. Milburn

Springer, Berlin, 2008; $79.95 (hardcover).


Almost anyone who works in quantum optics has probably read the first edition of this book or at least browsed a few chapters; it is possibly the most clear pedagogical review of quantum optics available. Therefore, the second edition, which is significantly enlarged, is expected to have a similar impact.

The book contains new chapters, which cover areas of the field that were in their infancy or did not exist at all when the first edition was completed in 1994. Quantum information or Bose-Einstein condensation (BEC), for example, represent two fascinating discoveries made in the last decade in quantum optics. All these spectacular developments, some of them awarded with Nobel prizes, come to life in this book and are made easily understandable. The second edition deserves to be intensely studied by students or young PhDs who want to pursue the research on quantum properties of light. It should also be a part of every university’s library.

Review by Daniela Dragoman, physics faculty, University of Bucharest, Romania.

Optical Fiber Telecommunications, Fifth Edition
A: Components and Subsystems
B: Systems and Networks

Ivan P. Kaminov, Tingye Li and Alan E.Willner, eds.

Academic Press 2008; $150.00 each (hardcover).


This is a welcome update to a tried and tested classic. These volumes provide a detailed analysis of the growing points in optical fiber telecommunications research. The contributed chapters are supplied by respected authors who provide clear descriptions of the challenges and innovations in the field. Indeed, the evolution of these volumes through to the present edition is itself an accurate representation of the progress that has been made in developing this vital technology.

The dynamic range of the chapters of part A spans quantum dots through quantum information technology, while part B moves from advanced optical modulation formats to simulation tools for devices systems and networks. Both volumes include a CD-ROM of the figures. It is thus justifiable to assert that “all optical fiber telecommunications life” is to be found within these two volumes.

Review by K. Alan Shore, Bangor University, School of Electronic Engineering, Bangor, Wales, U.K.

Photonic Crystal Fibers: Properties and Applications

F. Poli, A. Cucinotta and S. Selleri

Springer 2007; $159.00 (hardcover).


Microstructured fibers are a hot topic in photonics. These photonic bandgap structures are optical fibers that encompass a hollow-core with a periodic lattice (triangular, square, etc.). They have very important applications in optical communications, since their properties can be engineered by the lattice geometry and dimensions.

This book is clearly written and contains six chapters, which describe in detail the properties and applications of photonic crystal fibers. Their guiding, dispersion, linear and nonlinear, and Raman properties are extensively discussed and form the core of the book. This volume is a very useful tool for readers working in optical communications and advanced optical devices.

Review by Mircea Dragoman, National Research and Development Institute in Microtechnology, Bucharest, Romania.

The opinions expressed in the book review section are those of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect those of OPN or OSA.

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