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RCL Career Resources Engineering and Technology: Laser and Electroptics Technology

RCL Laser and Electroptics Technology + Choice Titles

Hecht tells the story of the several competing laboratories that were attempting in the late 1950s to use the phenomenon of stimulated emission to produce a coherent and monochromatic light source. The story is interesting in its own right, both to physicists and engineers interested in the intellectual climate of the time and to the general public as an example of excitement and competition within the scientific community. In addition, this book is particularly important as a balanced third-party narrative, complementing the first-person memoirs of two principals in this race: The Laser Odyssey, by Theodore H. Maiman, creator of the first working laser (CH, Jun'01, 38-5630); and How the Laser Happened, by Charles Townes, co-recipient of the Nobel Prize for establishing the basic operating principles of the laser (CH, Nov'99, 37-1529). Hecht has written extensively about lasers and optics, so the science is accurate, and the presentation is balanced, giving a clear sense of the motivations and working habits of the many scientists who were involved in the development of one of the most important technological advances of the 20th century. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels.

--D. B. Moss, formerly, Boston University

Hecht offers a fascinating chronicle of people, events, and technological innovations that led to modern fiber optics. Though he traces this history to the use of glass in Egypt at least 4,500 years ago, to Romans drawing glass into fibers, and then to some pertinent events in the 1700s, his tale primarily covers relevant developments over the past century and a half. Among the earliest of these involves the ability of water to guide light and the subsequent use of this feature to create the luminous fountains for the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. Hecht identifies the individuals and their contributions, some successful and others not, in the sequence of events that today makes possible enormous communication bandwidths. For example, he describes how early inventors used arrows to draw fine glass fibers and the unsuccessful idea of using light pipes for lighting homes. Progress dramatically increased during the last 30 years, as laser technology became the source of light for fiber optics and low loss fiber was perfected. Though the book includes some limited explanations of technology, it is primarily very well written and researched. Appendixes with annotated lists of people and organizations; chronology of developments; extensive notes. General readers; professionals; two-year technical program students.

--E. M. Aupperle, University of Michigan

Saleh and Teich (both, Boston Univ.) offer a broad survey on photonics that encompasses theory and applications. The book treats the basic theories of light, interaction of light with matter, and semiconductor optics. Also discussed are Fourier optics and holography, guided-wave and fiber optics, semiconductor light sources and detectors, electro-optic and acousto-optic devices, nonlinear optical devices, optical interconnects and switches, and optical fiber communications. Each of the 22 chapters of the first edition (1991) is updated, and two new chapters are added, one discussing photonic-crystal optics, the other ultrafast optics. Examples, problems, and references are provided in each chapter. Most figures are produced in colors. Three appendixes covering Fourier transform, linear systems, and modes of linear systems are included. Readers are expected to have backgrounds in engineering or applied physics. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates; professionals.

--O. Eknoyan, Texas A&M University

An outgrowth of the Laser History Project, funded by a variety of private and public organizations since 1982 and directed by Bromberg from its beginning until 1989. Among the most important technological developments of modern times, lasers have moved from discovery to numerous applications over the past four decades. Bromberg was able to interview and record the recollections of most of the scientists and engineers who played key roles in this brief historical period. Her account, which spans the years from 1950 to 1970, is followed in the book by a brief, guest-authored scientific epilogue describing current activities and likely future developments. In the main text, events and personalities are depicted against a backdrop of the changing times. Funding sources as well as other motivational factors, and the roles of large and small businesses, the military, and academe are all considered as the scientific developments unfold. The underlying research, careful documentation, and overall high quality of this work are impressive. Although a bit dry in spots, this book deserves a place in undergraduate and public library collections and on the shelves of all who use lasers for basic research or in applications.

--J. U. Trefny, Colorado School of Mines

Outstanding Academic Title

An excellent introduction to lasers and optical engineering directed primarily to undergraduate electrical engineers, but equally suitable for other engineering and science undergraduates and for beginning graduates in these disciplines as well. Das's presentation begins with geometrical optics, and physical and wave optics, including Fourier optics, and continues with a thorough introduction to lasers of all types, concluding with a long section on applications of optical devices and lasers. Diagrams and illustrations are well done and complement the text nicely. There is considerable bibliographic material for further study, but there are no exercises or problems for testing comprehension. Highly recommended.

--C. A. Hewett, Rochester Institute of Technology

Oustanding Academic Title

Diels (Univ. of New Mexico) and Arissian (Texas A&M Univ.) provide a detailed account, in a unique didactical framework, of the physical principle of lasers and their most advanced applications. These applications range from those in everyday life to very complex experiments in physics where the laser and its optical properties play a fundamental role. The book starts slowly by explaining what the laser is and its properties. The authors use well-thought-out diagrams to summarize complex physical mechanisms that nonscience students sometimes find difficult to understand. They then discuss various laser applications in the home, in medicine and industry, and in very complex experiments that use ultrashort/terawatt laser pulses to investigate questions about atomic physics, laser propagation and guiding, and laser sensors. The book's originality is reflected in the authors' outstanding ability to explain and develop conceptual paradigms of physical concepts using diagrams and pictures. Overall, this work seems very appropriate for undergraduate students seeking material for research papers or supplementary readings. The book is also well suited for general readers and high school teachers looking for very simple explanations of the working principles of lasers and the wide variety of applications in different disciplines. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates, general readers, and high school educators.

--G. J. Fochesatto, University of Alaska