Over the last few years there have been several important changes in the undergraduate curricula in both Engineering and Physics departments. In engineering schools there is an increased emphasis on design type courses which squeeze the time students have for fundamental courses. In physics departments there is an increased need to make a stronger connection between the material studied and modern technological applications. This book is motivated by these changes.
This book deals with important topics from the fields of quantum mechanics, statistical thermodynamics, and material science. It also presents a discussion of the special theory of relativity. Care is taken to discuss these topics not in a disjointed manner but with an intimate coupling. My own experience as a teacher is that applied science students are greatly motivated to learn basic and even esoteric concepts when these concepts are closely connected to applications from real-life technologies. This book strives to establish such connections wherever possible.
The material of the text can be covered in a single semester. The text is designed to be highly applied and each concept developed is folfowed with discussions of several applications in modern technology.
The emphasis in this text is not on tedious mathematical derivations for the solutions of various quantum problems. Instead we focus on the results and their physical implications. This approach allows us to cover several seemingly complex subjects which are of great importance to applied scientists.
I believe the level of the text is such that it can be taught in the physics, electrical engineering or material science departments of most schools. For physics students, the book may be suitable in the sophomore year, while in the engineering schools it may be used for seniors or even for entering graduate students.
I am extremely grateful to Greg Franklin, my editor, for his support and encouragement. He was able to get valuable input from a number of referees whose comments were most useful. I also wish to extend my gratitude t o the following reviewers for their expert and valuable feedback: Professor Arthur Gossard of the Materials Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Professor Karl Hess of the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois; and Dr. Michael Stroscio of the Army Research Office.
The figures, typing, cover design, and formatting of this book were done by Teresa Singh, my wife. She also provided the support without which this book would not be possible.