The work provides solid coverage in the fundamental theoretical aspects of the subject, with carefully planned cross-linking and structuring to give the user the potential to gain a solid grounding in the theoretical aspects of quantum mechanics, mechanics, electrodynamics, relativity, statistical mechanics, and elementary particiles that form the core physics background for the field. These core areas form the background for coverage of such areas as crystallography, transport phenomena, various theoretical models (electronic, band structure, materials property models, etc), and physical properties of materials (electrical, magnetic, optical, thermal, etc). Coverage of experimental techniques will include, among others, the full range of scattering, microscopy, and spectroscopy techniques. Other entries do cover a range of materials processing (solidification, crystal growth, molecular beam epitaxy, sputtering, sintering, etc) and include coverage of key materials systems (macromolecules, nanostructures, polymers, ceramics, and alloys). Special materials systems that have had and continue to have a major impact on society such as semiconductors, laser materials, and superconductors are covered. The encyclopedia also includes a wide range of applied topics, device-oriented topics, developments in biomaterials, soft condensed matter, complex fluids, etc. Also available online via ScienceDirect – featuring extensive browsing, searching, and internal cross-referencing between articles in the work, plus dynamic linking to journal articles and abstract databases, making navigation flexible and easy. For more information, pricing options and availability visit


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About the authors

G. Bassani

After receiving his doctorate in physics from the University of Pavia in 1952, Franco Bassani had a brilliant career in various institutions in the United States and in Italy. As a research associate in the Department of Physics of the University of Illinois, then led by Professor Frederick Seitz, and later at Argonne National Laboratory, he developed a powerful method for band structure studies in semiconductors. As a professor of theoretical physics at the Universities of Messina, Pisa, and Rome and, currently, at Scuola Normale Superiore, he has established an internationally recognized school of condensed matter theory focussed on the optical and electronic properties of semiconductors and insulators, thus providing the scientific basis for their applications in optoelectronics. In his distinguished career, Professor Bassani has received many honors including honorary degrees from several European universities. He is a member of the prestigious "Academia Nazionale dei Lincei," and in 1979 was awarded the "Somaini" Prize by the Italian Physical Society. In 1994 he received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science from Purdue University for his innovative pioneering researches on the band structure and optical properties of semiconductors and for his intellectual leadership in condensed matter physics.

Affiliations and Expertise

Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, Italy

Gerald Liedl

Gerald L. Liedl retired as professor and head of the School of Materials Engineering at Purdue University in 1999 after 40 years in higher education. He earned both his B.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University. His research involved applying x-ray scattering and electron microscopy to problems in materials science. He was the director and founder of both the Midwest Superconductivity Consortium (a six institution research organization) and the Midwest Analytical Team for Research Instrumentation of X-Rays (a four institution synchrotron users group). Also, he was a founding chair of the University Materials Council (organization of department chairs), faculty member of the National Technical University and a co-coordinator of the Career Resource Center for Materials Science and Engineering.

Affiliations and Expertise

Hendersonville, NC USA

Peter Wyder

Born on 26th February 1934, in Burgdorf (Switzerland). Study of physics, doctorate Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zürich (1965), Fellow of the Miller Institute of Basic Research in Science of the Univ. of California/Berkeley/USA (1965), Research fellow Harvard Univ./USA (1966), Professor of Physics Nijmegen University, The Netherlands (1967), Director and Scientific Member of the Max-Planck-Institute for Solid-State Research (1985-2001), Honorary Professor Kon

Affiliations and Expertise

Grenoble High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Max-Planck-Institut für Festkörperforschung/C.N.R.S.Grenoble, France


"Very well-organized encyclopedia ... 316 well-written articles illustrated with useful black-and-white or color figures when necessary, with over 2,000 figures in total. Entries usually start with background information on a topic and end with a list of references and glossary...well cross-referenced." Recommended Choice - April 2006 "I can highly recommend this encyclopedia for the reference collection of many libraries in different disciplines...many of the reviews are concise and provide a quick grounding in key concepts." -Chris Chantler University of Melbourne, Australia for Australian Physics Magazine