This is a story about sand and how science and silicon changed our lives. Over the last century, science taught us how to take this most common material and create the products on which we depend. It allows us to determine the atomic structure of materials and to grow novel, new materials atomic layer by atomic layer. The principles of thermodynamics are used to transform sand into ultra pure silicon. Quantum mechanics gave birth to the electronic age and the computer chip in which dopants are precisely placed in ultra pure silicon. The absorption and emission and reflection of quanta of light, photons, underlies solar cells, light emitting diodes, radiation detectors and optical fibers. This book follows the history of these scientific discoveries and relates them to the products made from sand.
Denis McWhan worked at many presitgious institutions over his forty year career including the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Bell Telephone Laboratories Inc., Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Grenoble, France and the U.S. Department of Energy, Brookhaven National Laboratory. He has published around 200 technical papers and has been awarded Fellow of the American Physical Society (1972), Bell Laboratories Distinguished Technical Service Award (1982), Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1990) and the Arthur Compton Award of the Advanced Photon Source (2003).
1. Submarines, Clocks and Sensors ; 2. The Architecture of Sand ; 3. How Pure is Pure? ; 4. Impurities are Key ; 5. The Sun Shines Bright ; 6. How Small is Small? ; 7. Through the Looking Glass ; 8. Sand is Everywhere