1st Edition

The Silicon Web Physics for the Internet Age

By Michael G. Raymer Copyright 2009
    600 Pages 590 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    598 Pages 590 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    The technology behind computers, fiber optics, and networks did not originate in the minds of engineers attempting to build an Internet. The Internet is a culmination of intellectual work by thousands of minds spanning hundreds of years. We have built concept upon concept and technology upon technology to arrive at where we are today, in a world constructed of silicon pathways and controlled by silicon processors.

    From computers to optical communications, The Silicon Web: Physics for the Internet Age explores the core principles of physics that underlie those technologies that continue to revolutionize our everyday lives. Designed for the nonscientist, this text requires no higher math or prior experience with physics. It starts with an introduction to physics, silicon, and the Internet and then details the basic physics principles at the core of the information technology revolution. A third part examines the quantum era, with in-depth discussion of digital memory and computers. The final part moves onto the Internet era, covering lasers, optical fibers, light amplification, and fiber-optic and wireless communication technologies.

    The relation between technology and daily life is so intertwined that it is impossible to fully understand modern human experience without having at least a basic understanding of the concepts and history behind modern technology, which continues to become more prevalent as well as more ubiquitous. Going beyond the technical, the book also looks at ways in which science has changed the course of history. It clarifies common misconceptions while offering insight on the social impacts of science with an emphasis on information technology.

    As a pioneering researcher in quantum mechanics of light, author Michael Raymer has made his own significant contributions to contemporary communications technology

    Introduction: Physics and Its Relation to Computer and Internet Technologies 
    Physics, Silicon, and the “Magic” behind the Internet Age  
    A Zoomed-In Look inside a Computer       
    Timeline of Great Discoveries and Inventions in Physics and Computer and Communication Technologies  
    The Methods and Significance of Science       
    The Relation of Science and Information Technology   
    Social Impacts: Science and Technology      

    Mathematics: The Language of Science and Technology    
    The Utility of Mathematics in Science and Technology   
    Precision and Significant Digits          
    Large and Small Numbers and Scientific Notation    
    Real-World Example 2.1: Precision of Display Pixels    
    Units for Physical Quantities          
    Binary Numbers              
    The Concept of Information           
    Exponential Growth   
    Social Impacts: The Exponential Change of Nearly Everything

    Mechanics: Energy Enables Information Technology
    From Looms to Computers        
    Speed, Acceleration, and Force        
    In-Depth Look 3.1: Distance Traveled under Constant Acceleration    
    Real-World Example 3.1: Seek Time of a Hard-Drive Head
    In-Depth Look 3.2: Net Force Vectors       
    Real-World Example 3.2: Acceleration in Cathode-Ray Tubes
    Principles of Mechanics           
    Real-World Example 3.3: Force on a Hard-Drive Head    
    The Physics of Energy            
    Friction and Thermal Energy          
    The Constancy of Energy           
    Units for Mechanics            
    Real-World Example 3.4: Motion Sensors in Laptops
    Social Impacts: Scientific Thought and Methods Have Arguably Changed the Course of Human History More Than Anything Else

    Matter and Heat: Cooling Computers is Required by the Physics of Computation
    From Steam Engines to Computers
    Matter and Atoms
    Gases, Liquids, and Solids
    In-Depth Look 4.1: Size and Numbers of Atoms
    Real-World Example 4.1: Growing Silicon Crystals for Computer Chips

    Pressure in a Gas
    Pressure in a Liquid
    Pumps, Current, and Resistance
    Real-World Example 4.2: A Water-Pressure-Operated Computer
    The Ideal Gas
    Heat and Thermal Energy Transfer
    Real-World Example 4.3: Cooling Computer Chips   
    Principles of Thermodynamics: Extracting Work from Heat  
    Cooling Computers is Required by the Physics of Computation             
    Social Impacts: The Industrial Revolution and the Information Revolution    
    Electricity and Magnetism: The Workhorses of Information Technology
    Electricity and Magnetism Are the Basis of Computers and the Internet           
    Electric Charge
    In-Depth Look 5.1: The Concept of Plus and Minus Electric Charge
    Electric Forces: Coulomb’s Law
    In-Depth Look 5.2: The Discovery of the Electron
    Electric Fields
    In-Depth Look 5.3: Electric Field Lines
    Electric Current and Conductors
    Electrical Energy and Voltage
    Real-World Example 5.1: Capacitor Computer Memory
    Resistors, Conductors, and Ohm’s Law
    Electrical Power 
    Real-World Example 5.2: The Telegraph, Precursor to the Internet               
    In-Depth Look 5.4: Magnetic Materials and Data Storage
    Social Impacts: Innovation and Public Support of Science

    Digital Electronics and Computer Logic
    The “Reasoning” Abilities of Computers
    Concepts of Logic
    Electronic Logic Circuits
    Logic Operations and Diagrams
    Using Logic to Perform Arithmetic
    Implementing Logic with Electromagnetic Switches
    Supplemental Section: Boolean Search of Databases   
    Chapter 7 Waves: Sound, Radio, and Light
    Communicating with Sound, Radio, and Light     
    Simple Harmonic Motion           
    Damped and Complex Harmonic Motion       
    Driven Harmonic Motion and Resonance      
    In-Depth Look 7.1: Resonance Frequencies     
    Real-World Example 7.1: Crystal Oscillators and Microprocessor Clocks            
    Simple Harmonic Waves
    Interference of Waves
    In-Depth Look 7.2: Standing Waves
    Sound Waves
    In-Depth Look 7.3: Beats
    Wireless Radio Waves
    Real-World Example 7.2: AM Radio
    Let There Be Light Waves
    In-Depth Look 7.4: Light Polarization
    Real-World Example 7.3: LCD Screens

    Interference of Light            
    Social Impacts: Music, Science and Technology     

    Analog and Digital Communication
    Communication Systems: Analog and Digital
    Basics of Analog Radio
    Basics of Digital Radio            
    The Maximum Rate of Transmitting Data
    Maximum Data Rate
    Frequency Multiplexing and Bandwidth
    In-Depth Look 8.1: Signal Reconstruction

    Quantum Physics of Atoms and Materials
    Atoms, Crystals, and Computers
    The Quantum Nature of Electrons and Atoms
    The Experiments behind Quantum Theory
    In-Depth Look 9.1: Spectrum of Hydrogen Atoms
    The Spinning of Electrons
    The Principles of Quantum Physics
    Building Up the Atoms
    Real-World Example 9.1: Fluorescent Lamps
    Electrical Properties of Materials
    In-Depth Look 9.2: Origin of the Energy Gap in Silicon Crystals
    In-Depth Look 9.3: Atomic Nature of Magnetic Domains
    Social Impacts: Science, Mysticism, and Pseudo-Science

    Semiconductor Physics: Transistors and Circuits
    Silicon, Transistors, and Computers        
    Controlling the Conductivity of Silicon       
    p-n Junctions and Diodes          
    Real-World Example 10.1: A Simple Crystal AM Radio Receiver
    CMOS Computer Logic          
    In-Depth Look 10.1: Water-Effect Transistors     
    Miniaturization, Integrated Circuits, and Photolithography 
    In-Depth Look 10.2: Bipolar Transistors     
    Social Impacts: Labeling Every Object in the World
    Digital Memory and Computers
    Physics, Memory, and Computers        
    Sequential Logic for Computer Memory     
    Feedback Example #1: NOT Loop       
    Feedback Example #2: One-Time Latch
    Static Random-Access Memory        
    In-Depth Look 11.1: SRAM with Six Transistors    
    Dynamic Random-Access Memory       
    Nonvolatile Memory           
    In-Depth Look 11.2: Quantum Tunneling     
    Magnetic Tape and Hard Disk Memory      
    Optical Compact Disk Memory       
    Error Immunity of Digital Data        
    The Structure of a Computer         
    Hierarchy of Computer Memory        
    Heat-Imposed Limits of Computers      
    Representing Information in Computers using Codes  
    Coding Images             
    Data Compression            

    Photons: Light Detectors and Light Emitting Diodes
    Light, Physics, and Technology
    The Quantum Nature of Light—Photons
    Power and Energy in Light
    Absorption of Light by Atoms and Crystals (or “How Einstein Got His Nobel Prize”)
    In-Depth Look 12.1: Inability of Constant Voltage to Accelerate Electrons in an Insulator      
    Real-World Example 12.1: Semiconductor Light Detectors
    Emission of Light by Atoms and Crystals
    Real-World Example 12.2: Light-Emitting Diodes
    Social Impacts: Lighting the Darkness (Efficiently)

    Light and Optical Fibers for the Internet
    Light as a Communication Medium
    Propagation, Reflection and Transmission of Light
    Light in Transparent Media
    Refraction of Light at a Boundary
    Reflection of Light at a Boundary
    Total Internal Reflection
    Prisms and Speeds of Different Colored Light
    Lenses and Curved Mirrors
    Optical Loss in Materials—The Clarity of Optical Fiber
    Light Guiding
    Optical Fibers
    Light Pulses in Optical Fibers
    Social Impacts: Total Immersion in a Sea of Information

    Light Amplification and Lasers
    Atoms and Lasers
    The Uniqueness of Laser Light
    Absorption and Emission of Light by Atoms
    Laser Resonators
    In-Depth Look 14.1: Laser Resonator Frequencies
    How a Laser Works
    The Helium-Neon Laser
    In-Depth Look 14.2: Extreme Laser Facts
    Variable-Color Semiconductor Lasers
    Overcoming Losses in Fiber-Optic Systems
    Quantum Physics Description of Lasers
    The Semiconductor Diode Laser

    Fiber-Optics Communication
    Bandwidth and the Physics of Waves
    Overview of Fiber-Optical Communication Systems
    Modulating a Laser Beam with Data
    Wavelength Multiplexing in Optical Communication
    The Virtues of Lasers for Optical Communication
    Hardware for Wavelength Multiplexing
    Laser Beam Routing

    Communication Networks and the Internet
    The Physics behind the Internet
    The Goals of Computer Communication Networks
    Noise in Analog and Digital Systems
    Challenges in Networking
    Broadcasting Networks and Switching Networks
    Failure-Resistant Communications
    Wireless Mobile Cell Phone Networks
    Propagation of Wireless Waves in Terrain
    Summary of Scientific Notation and Units
    Sources and Credits for Quotes Used with Permission


    Michael G. Raymer received his PhD from the University of Colorado in 1979. After a tenure on the faculty at the Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, he moved to the University of Oregon in 1988, where he became founding Director of the Oregon Center for Optics. His research focuses on the quantum mechanics of light and its interaction with atoms, molecules, and semiconductors, with applications in nonlinear optics, communications technology, and quantum information. In 1993, his group reported the first instance of experimental quantum-state tomography of light. He has been honored as Fellow of both the American Physical Society and Optical Society of America. He has served on the Committee on Atomic, Molecular, and Optical (AMO) Science, National Research Council, and Executive Committee of the American Physical Society's Division of Laser Science.

    …the author shows how semiconductors and networks require a good understanding of physics ‘by discovery’ … . Following a story that requires only high-school mathematics, the reader is transported from mechanics to thermodynamics, wave propagation, quantum mechanics and even to basic electronic engineering concepts … . Each chapter includes exercises and formal references as well as suggested readings and a provocative section on the social impacts of technology.
    Optics & Photonics News (OPN), January 2011

    Change the title of this excellent text to ‘Physics for the Internet Age: The Silicon Web’ as soon as possible to attract teachers of all introductory physics courses to look into this text for adoption with its many hints as a PER [Physics Education Research]-influenced text.
    —Professor John L. Hubisz, North Carolina State University, The Physics Teacher, November 2010 

    … a text perfect in itself and perfect for its time … . ideal for an undergraduate course required of all physical science, engineering, computer science, and mathematics majors.
    Physics Today

    [A] stunningly rich story about the Internet and its associated technologies … . The Silicon Web is an elegant and elaborate textbook, one that examines the science underlying the current revolution in communications technology. Each scientific concept arises on a need-to-know basis in the context of a particular … issue or device. All the important physics is here, but presented in an engaging way, with modern examples.
    —From the Foreword by Louis A. Bloomfield, author of How Things Work