- Paperback: 332 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press (28 October 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 052152735X
- ISBN-13: 978-0521527354
- Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 1.9 x 24.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,45,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Introductory Quantum Optics Paperback – 28 Oct 2004
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'… the book is well argued throughout and subject applications are explained beautifully.' The Times Higher Education Supplement
This book provides an elementary introduction to quantum optics, the study of the quantum mechanical nature of light and its interaction with matter. It is designed for upper-level undergraduates taking courses in quantum optics who have already taken courses in quantum mechanics, and for first and second year graduate students.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I read this book to teach myself quantum optics.
Since I read it as a self-study text,
I will review it from that perspective.
Some of the weaknesses noted might be less important for a classroom text.
The Gerry/Knight text is billed as suitable for
"senior undergraduates and beginning postgraduates", but
I fear that undergraduates who attempt it as a self-study text
are likely to end up frustrated.
I can't recall ever encountering an undergraduate with a background in mathematics and quantum mechanics
sufficient to read this book in a reasonable time without the guidance of an instructor.
If used for self-study, I think that minimal prerequisites
would be a graduate level understanding of abstract linear algebra and quantum mechanics.
Some familiarity with Fock space and the theory of operators on infinite-dimensional Hilbert spaces would be desirable.
Because the book is intended for beginners,
the authors take pains to explain many things which a beginner might not know.
Most of the explanations were careful and helpful, but I was dissatisfied with some.
I read the book cover to cover and was able to follow most of it,
but some of it (e.g, much of the chapter on decoherence)
is still a mystery to me.
Chapter 9 describes recent experiments in quantum optics which
demonstrate amazing properties of light unimaginable from a classical perspective.
The presentations of the physical setups give just the right amount of detail for clear understanding.
The diagrams are good.
However, I felt that the mathematical analyses would be easier
for those with good backgrounds if done on a higher level,
and some of the physical discussions seemed obscure.
Given the authors' intended audience,
it may be unreasonable to quarrel with their choice of mathematical level.
However, it is truly unfortunate that some of
their calculational details seem actually wrong.
For example, in Section 9.3's discussion of a ``quantum eraser'',
several terms appear to be omitted from equation (9.21),
which invalidates some of the subsequent discussion.
Moreover, the discussion is obscure and seems of questionable validity even were the text's (9.21) correct.
More details can be found on my website.
I noticed only a few errors which would affect the physics,
but there are too many mathematical errors and
an unusually large number of typos.
Most of the typos are relatively insignificant,
but nevertheless distracting.
Readers should be prepared to check everything.
My copy is by now riddled with underlined statements with marginal notes
like "Why?", or "What does this mean?"
As I progressed through the book and my understanding deepened,
many of these "Why's" were erased, but quite a few remain.
The reader who wants to learn quantum optics and has
the necessary mathematical background may wish that
parts of the book were more carefully written,
but he will not be fundamentally disappointed.
This is a good book from which I learned a lot.
It seems much clearer than Scully and Zubairy's
Quantum Optics, which I read previously.
My brand new paperback copy is falling apart after only a few weeks of careful use at home.
A book this good deserves a more durable binding.
This is exactly where this book by Gerry and Knight comes in and does an excellent job. I first tried to read it in isolation as my first introduction to the subject, and I was hopelessly lost and frustrated. After getting a great grasp of Fox, and also reading some of Loudon's book, I jumped back into this, and I have been very happily surprised. The mathematical arguments are really precise and incredibly clear. The overall clarity of this book from a theoretical standpoint is actually much better than Loudon's theory. It is clear that it is written by true masters of the field who seem to know the pros/cons of prior classic book like Loudon's.