Introduction to quantum optics

Introduction to quantum optics

BOOKS Optical properties of solids - new developments Edited by B. O. Seraph/n North Holland ~.Amsterdam and New York) 1976, pp viii + 1018, ~111.95 ...

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BOOKS Optical properties of solids - new developments

Edited by B. O. Seraph/n North Holland ~.Amsterdam and New York) 1976, pp viii + 1018, ~111.95 The traditional role of the comprehensive treatise by one or two authors is being increasingly filled by compilations of various sorts. Typically, an "editor" commissions a dozen short review articles on specific variations of his chosen theme. It is a technique which has many intrinsic deficiencies and prevalent abuses. Unless the editor and publisher take their job seriously, the result can be a ragged and incoherent collection of material already published in journals. This is particularly true of volumes which arise out of Symposia and Summer Schools which are often hawked by publishers as indispensable library reference material when they are little more than accidental conglomerations of largely unrelated lecture notes. The consequence is at best the dilution and at worst the pollution of our libraries. What a pleasure it is, then, to see an edited volume which is not deserving of such criticisms! It is intended as a sequel to Abelds' widely quoted "Optical t~roperties of solids" (1972). Seraphin has done an excellent job in selecting an international panel of authors whose work reflects the topics of most interest in recent years. All of them have responded well to the challenge of writing a review which provides at once a lively sketch of overall progress in the area and a useful source of information on matters of detail. The predominant flavour of the subject matter is similar to that of the previous volume. The emphasis is on fundamental optical properties and new spectroscopic techniques. Theory (Scully et al on coherence, Dow on finalstage interactions ...) is nicely balanced with experiment (Aspnes on ellipsometry, Spice on photoemission ...). One slight change of direction is the incorporation of rather more material on applied optics including information storage and photothermal solar energy conversion. This is a proper reflection of the present interests of research workers in the field, who are increasingly aware that the' world of such arcane concepts as exciton condensation is not so very far removed from urgent practical realities. This book really is indispensable to the libraries of universities and research laboratories. D. Weaire

Introduction to quantum optics

t4. M. Nussenzverg Gordon and Breach (London, UK) 1975, £8.70 'Quantum optics' means many things to many people. A number of writers of books thus titled seem to display a penchant for that area of the subject concerned with forc-


ing quantum optics to look like classical optics. This one is no exception. At an early stage we have extensive and erudite material on the coherence functions as generalized Wightman functions and on the so-called 'optical equivalence theorem'. By insisting on the use of an overcomplete basis set of coherent states the author pays the inevitable penalty of venturing into the land of ultradistributions, far from the well trodden home shores of number-representation quantum electrodynamics. This latter approach, in all cases this reviewer knows about, is by far the best way to treat the laser and other problems in this field. To be fair, when we come to the theory of the laser, the author belies the promised importance of 'optical equivalence' and sets about reproducing the Scully-Lamb conventional number representation calculations. This he does very well. He also gives a good elementary introduction to the laser problem and covers the earlier theory of Lamb. A chapter on two-level atomic systems then brings us to the end of the book proper. Superradiance, photon echo and the McCall-Hahn theory of selfinduced transparency are the two level-problems discussed. An appendix dealing with atomic coherence effects is added. As an introduction, the level is aimed at the graduate student with theoretical ability, and for one who wishes to join the optics-is-still-almost-classical-there-is-no-needfor-quanta club it would be one of the best books in its class. E. R. Pike

Application of optical instrumentation in medicine - II

Edited by W. R. Hendee, W. C. Zarnstoaff Proceedings of the Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (Second Technology Utilisation Seminar on Applications of Optical Engineering in Medicine, Chicago, 1973) pp 246, ~30. Though the basic principles of Fourier optics related to information handling were established by Abbd it was not until the 1950's that these were exploited in papers by El-Sum and others. A further impetus was provided by the advent of the laser in 1960 and its immediate application as a source for coherent optical systems including holography. Associated with these advances have come those in the field of opto-electronic devices particularly detectors and these advances are now being successfully exploited in many fields particularly medicine. The further development of whole body x and gamma ray scanning has called for efficient imaging systems having much greater efficiency than pinhole imaging. A number of papers in this volume deal with this subject using both old and new concepts. Jaszczak et al have taken the concept of the Fresnel zone plate and have designed a coded