Book Reviews

Fundamentals of Power Semiconductor Devices

B. Jayant Balinga

Springer, 2008; $139.00 (hardcover).


This book provides an in-depth treatment of the physics involved in operating many power semiconductor devices that are commonly used by the power electronics industry. It includes analytical models that explain the operation of all power semiconductor devices. The book focuses on silicon devices and includes the unique attributes of and design requirements for emerging silicon carbide devices. This volume can certainly be used as a reference for a course on solid-state devices.

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

The Light Fantastic: A Modern Introduction to Classical and Quantum Optics

Bharat Bhushan, Harald Fuchs, eds.

Oxford University Press, 2008; $60.00 (softcover).


While there are many textbooks that adequately cover the subject of classical optics, few also provide a comprehensive discussion of quantum optics. Ian Kenyon’s new textbook is a brilliant exception. It provides a single volume that should replace older books on classical optics. Three parts comprise the textbook: ray optics, wave optics and quantum optics.

The first half of the book provides a sound foundation of classical optics; the second half introduces students to the fundamentals of quantum optics as well as many applications and devices. This textbook is appropriate for either advanced undergraduates or beginning graduate students. The emphasis is on the properties of electromagnetic waves and photons in the visible region, although there are discussions of near-infrared radiation in optical fiber communications.

What features make this an excellent choice for a graduate optics course? First, the illustrations are original, well designed, strongly linked to the discussion, and sharply printed. All are in black and white. Second, all of the terms are clearly defined, and the key equations are derived in a manner that is easy to follow. Finally, each chapter contains both worked examples and student exercises. The solutions are provided in the appendix. At the end of each chapter, a section of further reading contains suggested monographs. Other appendices contain materials not usually found in an optics textbook: cardinal points and planes of lens systems; Kirchhoff’s analysis of wave propagation at apertures; the non-linear Schrödinger equation; state vectors, and more. The index provides easy access to specific topics.

The author’s affiliation with a school of physics and astronomy explains the very clear discussions of adaptive optics, stellar interferometers, aperture synthesis and gravitational wave detectors. If one understands these principles, they can be applied to light microscopy as well.

The two chapters on the quantum nature of light and matter and the introduction to quantum mechanics are clear, concise and well-illustrated. The author shows his deep understanding of these difficult topics, as is obvious from his excellent discussion. He first treats the interactions of electromagnetic radiation with atoms semiclassically; the atoms are treated quantum mechanically, but the fields are treated classically. In a subsequent chapter, both the field and the atom are quantized and treated as a composite system. Here, the reader will find lucid discussions of transition rates, selection rules, electric susceptibility, dressed states, slow light, and the trapping and cooling of ions.

The final chapter introduces the topic of the quantized electromagnetic field. The reader is introduced to the creation and the annihilation of operators and their commutation relations as well as the different representation used in quantum theory. The quantum mechanical description of radiation and matter provides conceptions that have no counterparts in classical theory—for example, entangled states.

Why the title? I propose that it suggests a wild lack of restraint. Not the light itself, but the unlimited imagination of the men and women who are furthering our understanding of light and its properties to transform our world. This highly recommended modern textbook can both explain the principles and applications of modern optics and stimulate creative minds.

Review by Barry R. Masters, OSA Fellow, SPIE Fellow, department of biological engineering, MIT, Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A.

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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