The Physics of Low-Dimensional Semiconductors

John H. Davies

Publishing information:

The Physics of Low-Dimensional Semiconductors: An Introduction
John H. Davies
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
ISBN 0521481481, ISBN-13 9780521481489 (hardback); 052148491X, ISBN-13 9780521484916 (paperback)
Approximate price: GBP 90 or USD 160 (hardback), GBP 40 or USD 74 (paperback)
253 x 177 mm, 456pp, 175 line diagrams, 5 tables
Copyright Cambridge University Press, 1998

Japanese edition

An edition in Japanese was published in 2004 by Springer-Verlag Tokyo, translated by Uki Kabasawa. The ISBN is 9784431711074 and the price is about 6000 Yen.

Publisher’s description

The composition of modern semiconductor heterostructures can be controlled precisely on the atomic scale to create low-dimensional systems. These systems have revolutionised semiconductor physics, and their impact on technology, particularly for semiconductor lasers and ultrafast transistors, is widespread and burgeoning. This book provides an introduction to the general principles that underlie low-dimensional semiconductors. As far as possible, simple physical explanations are used, with reference to examples from actual devices.

The author shows how, beginning with fundamental results from quantum mechanics and solid-state physics, a formalism can be developed that describes the properties of low-dimensional semiconductor systems. Among numerous examples, two key systems are studied in detail:

The book includes many exercises and will be invaluable to undergraduate and first-year graduate physics or electrical engineering students taking courses in low-dimensional systems or heterostructure device physics.

Chapter headings

  1. Foundations (introduction to quantum mechanics and statistics)
  2. Electrons and phonons in crystals
  3. Heterostructures
  4. Quantum wells and low-dimensional systems
  5. Tunnelling transport
  6. Electric and magnetic fields
  7. Approximate methods
  8. Scattering rates: the golden rule
  9. The two-dimensional electron gas
  10. Optical properties of quantum wells


  1. Physical constants
  2. Properties of important semiconductors
  3. Properties of GaAs&endash;AlAs alloys at room temperature
  4. Hermite’s equation: the harmonic oscillator
  5. Airy functions: the triangular well
  6. Kramers&endash;Kronig relations and response functions

Further information from the publisher

Further information is available on the publisher’s web pages, either in Cambridge or New York.

Further information about the book

Answers to exercises

Worked solutions to all the exercises are available to instructors as PDF files. Please send me a note if you would find these helpful. They run to 330 pages!


A considerable number of minor errors have come to my notice. The list can be downloaded as a PDF file. I regret that it now runs to 9 pages. I no longer show the list on this page because it really needs mathematical layout, which is easy in pdf but hard in html. Please send me a note if you have noticed others.

About the author

Postal address:

Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering
University of Glasgow
Glasgow G12 8QQ
U. K.

Updated 2008 September 19

Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, Glasgow University