Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers by David A. B. Miller
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Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers by David A. B. Miller

PREFACE of Quantum Mechanics for Scientists and Engineers by David A. B. Miller:

This book introduces quantum mechanics to scientists and engineers. It can be used as a text for junior undergraduates onwards through to graduate students and professionals. The level and approach are aimed at anyone with a reasonable scientific or technical background looking for a solid but accessible introduction to the subject.

The coverage and depth are substantial enough for a first quantum mechanics course for physicists. At the same time, the level of required background in physics and mathematics has been kept to a minimum to suit those also from other science and engineering backgrounds.

Quantum mechanics has long been essential for all physicists and in other physical science subjects such as chemistry. With the growing interest in nanotechnology, quantum mechanics has recently become increasingly important for an ever-widening range of engineering disciplines, such as electrical and mechanical engineering, and for subjects such as materials science that underlie many modern devices.

Many physics students also find that they are increasingly motivated in the subject as the everyday applications become clear. Non-physicists have a particular problem in finding a suitable introduction to the subject.

The typical physics quantum mechanics course or text deals with many topics that, though fundamentally interesting, are useful primarily to physicists doing physics; that choice of topics also means omitting many others that are just as truly quantum mechanics, but have more practical applications.

Too often, the result is that engineers or applied scientists cannot afford the time or cannot sustain the motivation to follow such a physics-oriented sequence. As a result, they never have a proper grounding in the subject. Instead, they pick up bits and pieces in other courses or texts.

Learning quantum mechanics in such a piecemeal approach is especially difficult; the student then never properly confronts the many fundamentally counterintuitive concepts of the subject. Those concepts need to be understood quite deeply if the student is ever going to apply the subject with any reliability in any novel situation.

Too often also, even after working hard in a quantum mechanics class, and even after passing the exams, the student is still left with the depressing feeling that they do not understand the subject at all. To address the needs of its broad intended readership, this book differs from most others in three ways.

First, it presumes as little as possible in prior knowledge of physics. Specifically, it does not presume the advanced classical mechanics (including concepts such as Hamiltonians and Lagrangians) that is often a prerequisite in physics quantum mechanics texts and courses.

Second, in two background appendices, it summarizes all of the key physics and mathematics beyond the high-school level that the reader needs to start the subject. Third, it introduces the quantum mechanics that underlies many important areas of application, including semiconductor physics, optics, and optoelectronics.

Such areas are usually omitted from quantum mechanics texts, but this book introduces many of the quantum mechanical principles and models that are exploited in those subjects. It is also my belief and experience that using quantum mechanics in several different and practical areas of application removes many of the difficulties in understanding the subject.

If quantum mechanics is only illustrated through examples that are found in the more esoteric branches of physics, the subject itself can seem irrelevant and obscure. There is nothing like designing a real device with quantum mechanics to make the subject tangible and meaningful.

Even with its deliberately limited prerequisites and its increased discussion of applications, this book offers a solid foundation in the subject. That foundation should prepare the reader well for the quantum mechanics in either advanced physics or in deeper study of practical applications in other scientific and engineering fields.

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