The Silicon Web: Physics for the Internet Age / Edition 1

The Silicon Web: Physics for the Internet Age / Edition 1

by Michael G. Raymer

ISBN-10: 1439803110

ISBN-13: 9781439803110

Pub. Date: 06/23/2009

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

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


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

Product Details

Taylor & Francis
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Table of Contents

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

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