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Dr Stefan Maier
Dr Stefan Maier

Internal News - 11 September 2007

Bath physicist's book hits the bestseller list

A book which gives an overview of an important area of science, written by Bath academic Dr Stefan Maier, has entered the top 20 physics bestsellers for this year.

Dr Maier’s 250-page work, Plasmonics: Fundamentals and Applications, published by Springer, looks at an area of physics that could revolutionise computing and telecommunications over the next two decades.

In it Dr Maier, a member of the Centre for Photonics and Photonic Materials in the University’s Department of Physics, describes the basics of plasmonics, in which light signals are sent down the surfaces of small metallic nanostructures.

This makes it possible to create light circuits that are much smaller than those that can be made with insulating materials such as glass, the backbone of fibre-optic communications.

The new plasmonic devices could pave the way for computer chips that transmit and process information using light instead of electrons, with vastly improved computing speeds.

This offers the promise of computers that are much more efficient than today’s machines, which have developed rapidly as microchips have been made smaller. But this process is due to end shortly because the laws of nature create a natural limit to electronics.

The book, the product of one year’s work, is one of first modern overviews of plasmonics since the 1980s and is aimed at those starting in the field and experienced researchers as well.

The sales figures were compiled by Library Journal Academic Newswire (see Related Links).

Dr Maier is relocating to Imperial College London in November.