Synopses & Reviews
This is the first book to weave together into a coherent picture various recent studies of the different phases of condensed matter. Of the many known phases of condensed matter, the crystalline state has received most attention, and although noncrystalline states, for example liquid crystals, have also been extensively studied, this has been mostly without reference to interrelations between phases. This book gives an integrated overview with emphasis on physical aspects. The treatment is substantially descriptive, so although the key ideas involved are rather sophisticated the book should be accessible not only to experimental physicists but also to chemists, materials scientists, metallurgists and ceramicists whose work touches on condensed matter physics. Particular stress is laid on the role played by symmetry and symmetry breaking, and on the uses of symmetry concepts in the systematic classification of defects. The ground is also prepared for the possible future development of a field theory capable of describing both structure and dynamics. A series of technical appendices prepare the more mathematical reader for a deeper pursuit of the subject.
Condensed matter exhibits a rich variety of phases. Of these, the crystalline state has, until recently, received most attention. This is not surprising, given the geometric regularity of crystals. At the other extreme one has amorphous materials. In between there are the various types of liquid crystals, the recently discovered quasicrystals, and so on. While the absence of the high degree of regularity that characterizes the crystalline phase is certainly a problem, these noncrystalline states have nevertheless been receiving some attention over the years. However, it is only during the last few years that something like a uni- fied view of all these phases has begun to emerge, through an application of various sophisticated concepts. Geometry and symmetry (and unusual realiza- tions of the latter) provide a unifying thread in this new and emerging perspec- tive. This book is an attempt to capture the flavour of some of these recent de- velopments. The approach is substantially descriptive, being intended to be accessible not only to experimental physicists, but also to chemists, materials scientists, metallurgists and ceramicists, whose work borders on physics. The prerequisites for a study of this book are a familiarity with basic solid-state physics and, in places, the elements of group theory and statistical mechanics. A few special topics are included at the end to aid those who wish to pur sure further the subject matter treated here.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction.- Variety in Structures.- Order Out of Disorder.- Defects and Topology.- Structures by Projection.- Beyond Simple Geometry.- Tilings in One Dimension.- Ergodicity Breaking.- Symmetry Breaking - A Second Look.- Appendix A - F.- References.- Author Index.- Subject Index.