Mackillo Kira and Stephan Koch
Cambridge University Press
2011 | 658pp | £50 (HB)
ISBN 9780521875097

If tackling the complexities of both light–matter and many-body interactions side-by-side isn’t enough, then combining the two into the emerging field of semiconductor quantum optics should satisfy the most avid of mental gymnasts. Such is the challenge taken on by the authors in their aptly titled book Semiconductor quantum optics. The result is an extremely detailed equation-by-equation description that rapidly builds on the fundamental concepts to the more esoteric light–matter phenomena in low-dimensional semiconductors.

The book is aimed at graduate students and researchers, as is only too evident from the equation-heavy, terse style. The opening chapters do cover the fundamentals of classical electromagnetism and quantum mechanics, familiar to most undergraduate classes, but the derivations make for good revision alone and do not serve as stand-alone texts on these subjects. Instead, these chapters lay the foundations in a cumulative technique, as each chapter derives on relations and approximations developed in the last. With the basics covered, the pivotal point begins almost halfway into the book with the cluster expansion method that bridges traditional quantum field theory with many-body systems.

Billed as an up to date theoretical treatment, the authors describe the proof of principle quantum optical devices that are being developed in today’s laboratories. Only theoretical concepts are developed here, however, and the authors refer to their second book in the series for an account of applications.

The authors by no means describe their theory as a complete description and concede that the complexity of the problem can only lead to approximate predictions. However, this is as an excellent reference text and their model will surely serve as a solid platform for future work.

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