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Magnetic Materials : Fundamentals and Device Applications
by Nicola A. Spaldin

Amazon Price: $ 45.00 / 27.95 / CDN $63.00
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Paperback; (March 2003)
Cambridge University Press; ISBN: 0521016584; 224 pages
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Review:

Everyday life, from the mid-2Oth century, has been transformed Out of all recognition by the application of magnetic materials. At the start of this epoch the main applied use for magnetism was in magnetic resonance work. The change came with the use of ferrite cores for magnetic storage of data in the first electronic computers, and nascent magnetic recording of radio and television shows. Today the world operates more or less by courtesy of magnetic materials and this hook provides an introduction to this world. It consists of 13 chapters, many of which are very short, containing seven or eight pages. All hut two of the chapters have a few questions for the reader to attempt; with these being answered in full at the end of the hook. Each chapter ends with a short 'Further reading' section, and in addition there are 84 references to original research papers and an index. The hook closes with an opaque poem that is, so it says, about paramagnetism. This slim volume is designed to act as the underpinning to a one-semester course for advanced undergraduate and graduate students.

The coverage of the book is good and it was enjoyable to read. The first three chapters discuss the basics of the physics of magnetism, including the necessary definitions of the subject. Chapters three to ten go through the atomic theory of magnetism for the various classes of magnetic materials, from the weak diamagnets and paramagnets (chapters four and five), to the strongly interacting ferromagnets, antiferromagnets and fern-magnets (chapters six to nine). The final chapter in this part of the book, chapter 10, provides a discussion of magnetic anisotropy; a topic that hints at the applications to come. These are presented in the final three chapters, which discuss magnetic data storage (chapter 11) magneto-optics (chapter 12 ) and magnetic semiconductors (chapter 13). The index is rather sparse, and lacks, for instance, entries for either transition metals or lanthanides.

The subject matter is covered lucidly, and a non-specialist reader will find much of interest in this book. A note of caution needs to be added, in that the physics is presented in a mathematical way, and it is presumed that the reader has a good grasp of the use of vector algebra and vector notation. Apart from this, the earlier chapters are clear, and those who find them demanding will get help from the worked examples. The later chapters on applications are interesting and the author has brought the book as up-to-date as possible by including topics such as colossal magnetoresistance within the review of magnetic data storage. In chapter 13, the section with most emphasis on new materials, the reader is occasionally thrown in at the deep end, when terms like 'spin glass' and 'decoherence of the.. wavefunction' suddenly appear without any explanation or description. This chapter, of nine pages, would benefit if the topics were expanded and discussed in more detail. Unfortunately, it seems that the author prefers non-SI units, and for this reason the otherwise clear text is often confused (for this reviewer) by the necessary cross-referencing to SI units. While the use of ergs and so on might bring a tear to the eye of older readers, they simply mystify the overwhelming majority The author should have been advised to stick with SI units throughout, and put all non-SI units and equations into an appendix for those that need them.

These small criticisms apart, the book is a useful and compact addition to the bookshelf of anyone wishing to get a good up-to date account of magnetic materials at the start of the 21st century.

Professor RJ D Tilley MIMMM Emeritus Professor University of Cardiff

 

 

   

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