Introduction to semiconductor optics

Introduction to semiconductor optics

on the experimental procedure for making them or the properties of the deposits formed. This is, I suppose, fair enough since the authors were only wr...

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on the experimental procedure for making them or the properties of the deposits formed. This is, I suppose, fair enough since the authors were only writing on theory and applications, but having done the difficult part it seems a pity to miss out the fun parts. The analysis of the theory of the subject is careful and complete and supported by extensive reference lists. As a book for students of laser material processing it is a useful reference book; for students involved with LCVD it must be something akin to that which a Bible is for a monk. One thing for which it is not good is bedtime reading, because this book invites serious study. W.M. Steen Liverpool


Introduction to Semiconductor



Hans P Zappe

Artec House Books, &65

1995, ISBN: o-89006-789-9,

pp 371,

A visit to your local scientific or university bookstore will (hopefully) enable you to peruse the wide range of books on semiconductor technology available. The field is one that is very active in terms of the research and development effort expended on it, and a number of authors have put pen to paper (or more likely linger to keyboard) to discuss various aspects of optoelectronics and semiconductor technology. This book by Zappe is yet another to add to the list, this time with the nominal emphasis on integrated optics. However, much of the material is common to most of the other texts in the field and, with the aim of achieving value for money, the reader has to choose what other added features the book has which will appeal. So, for the detail: as you may expect, the author starts with Maxwell’s equations, a bit of standard semiconductor solid state physics, with an emphasis on their optical properties, preparation and processing. A third of the book gone - so far so good. Next, add a touch of basic optics starting with Snell’s law, taking you to guided waves and by Chapter 8 (out of 12) you hit ‘Optical channel waveguides’ (at last!). Chapters 9, 10 and 11 cover the missing material you expected to find earlier on lasers, photodetectors and modulators and the book ends with a last chapter on ‘Hybridization and monolithic integration’. So really it is only two chapters that emphasize the integrated optics theme, and the rest constitutes a worthy tome on the appropriate physics. So why should you pay &65 for yet another Artec House book from the ‘Optoelectronics Library’ when many other cheaper options will give you 80% or more of the contents of the book? What is distinctive about Zappe’s attempt to lighten our pockets and fill our minds?


It is best to start with the author: his academic credentials - MIT, Berkeley and latterly Zurich - are of the standard you expect, and his professed interest in the culinary arts less relevant scientifically but fascinating personally. So, between his self-confessed search for the perfect brioche and writing this text, what has been contributed to scientific literature? In his Preface he tells us he has designed the text, ‘on the one hand...‘, let us say the dexter ‘...for the semiconductor engineer who might know little about optics,’ and ‘on the other hand...‘, by inference the sinister, ‘for the engineer well versed in bulk or integrated optics who would like to probe into the world of semiconductors for new possibilities.’ Sinister indeed - is this the easy way to ‘new possibilities’? And of course the author has a ‘third hand‘, ‘for the beginning graduate student’ . . who does that leave out? It is an unashamed ‘engineering text’ (the shibboleth ofd-1 is defined as ‘j’ not ‘i’), trying to balance between ‘theoretical development’ and ‘concrete application’, so everyone should be satisfied. Does it succeed in trying to please this diverse potential market? So what will make you put one of your three hands in your pocket and pay &65 for this book? It is well illustrated, with the sort of clarity of diagrams and figures that were sadly missing from some of the earlier Artec books in the series. It is well referenced, importantly with references from the 1990s for the applications chapters. He quotes Joyce! - but fortunately does not use that writer as a model for literary clarity, even though it is the only scientific text I know which describes laser action in terms of ‘zapping’. What this book does have in abundance is literary style, or is it idiosyncrasy? The blandness so familiar in most of today’s scientific writing - the feeling of a need to write with a reduced and sanitized vocabulary more readily comprehensible to those for whom English is a less familiar second language, the lingua franca of science and technology - is missing. This does give the text some real life and the feeling of having been written by a human being, with a desire to communicate to others who really understand his mission and language, rather than it having been constructed by a lowest common denominator computer program. That is what you get for your money. However, for 80% of the potential readership, 80% of the information is available at a fraction of the price elsewhere. Ultimately the choice lies with you, the reader. As a review, this breaks the guidelines given about avoiding jargon, colloquialism and cliche and strays away from the desired short sentence style and other linguistic features which may aid broad clarity but limit the freedom of the author’s expression. But so does this book - and it is the richer for it. I am happy to have it on my library shelf - if you take a look beyond the unimaginative cover design you will find a well presented, accurate text you may well enjoy. Let me encourage you to give it a try. K. T. V. Grattan City University,


Optics & LaserTechnology Vol28 No 6 1996