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Reader Poll: Essential Reading

Photonics Spectra
Aug 2012
We reached out to Photonics Spectra readers on various social media platforms to see what they consider the must-read books for people who work with photonics and optics, and the resulting list should provide a good background for those who want to enter the field – or for those who want to brush up a little.

“I teach several optics/photonics courses,” said Isaia “Shelly” Glaser of Holon Institute of Technology in Israel, “and my choice would include in my list two books by Joe Goodman, both highly recommended. Introduction to Fourier Optics: This is the best introduction I can think of to diffraction theory. The first edition was excellent, but the third is even better. Absolute must! Statistical Optics: Not an easy book, but possibly the best introduction to phenomena such as speckle and coherence theory, which every serious practitioner in the field must study and understand.

“Of course, no library on optics will be complete without the bible of optics, [Max] Born and [Emil] Wolf’s Principles of Optics (now in its eighth edition). Anyone who managed to read it all and digest it can be called a true expert in optics.”

Introduction to Fourier Optics
by Joseph W. Goodman@Photonique (Twitter)
Brandon Rodenburg @punk_physicist (Twitter)
Isaia “Shelly” Glaser (LinkedIn)

Nonlinear Optics by Robert W. Boyd
National Society of Black Physicists @BlackPhysicists (Twitter)
Aakash Patel (LinkedIn)

Optics by Eugene Hecht
Paul Akin (LinkedIn)
Erron Gleicher (LinkedIn)

Lasers by Anthony E. Siegman
Lee Cairns @leecairnsy
Fundamentals of Photonics by Bahaa E.A. Saleh and Marvin C. Teich
National Society of Black Physicists @BlackPhysicists (Twitter)
Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan (LinkedIn)

Light-Matter Interaction: Atoms and Molecules in External Fields and Nonlinear Optics by Wendell T. Hill III and Chi H. Lee
National Society of Black Physicists @BlackPhysicists (Twitter)

Optical Waveguide Theory by Allan W. Snyder and John D. Love
Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan (LinkedIn)

Photonics: Optical Electronics in Modern Communications by Ammon Yariv
Lee Cairns @leecairnsy
Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan (LinkedIn)

Aberrations of Optical Systems by W.T. Welford
Bruce O’Connor (LinkedIn)

RCA Electro-Optics Handbook from RCA Corp.
Russell Lombardo (LinkedIn)

Understanding Fiber Optics by Jeff Hecht Paul Akin (LinkedIn) Statistical Optics by Joseph W. Goodman
Isaia “Shelly” Glaser (LinkedIn)

The Infrared and Electro-Optical Systems Handbook, edited by David L. Shumaker and Joseph S. Accetta
Russell Lombardo (LinkedIn)

Principles of Optics: Electromagnetic Theory of Propagation, Interference and Diffraction of Light by Max Born, Emil Wolf, A.B. Bhatia and P.C. Clemmow
Isaia “Shelly” Glaser (LinkedIn)

Molecular Quantum Electrodynamics by D.P. Craig and T. Thirunamachandran
National Society of Black Physicists @BlackPhysicists (Twitter)

Photonic Crystals: Molding the Flow of Light by John D. Joannopoulos, Steven G. Johnson, Joshua N. Winn and Robert D. Meade
Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan (LinkedIn)

Understanding Lasers by Jeff Hecht
Paul Akin (LinkedIn)

Introduction to Modern Optics by Grant R. Fowles
Jonathan Friedman (LinkedIn)

Math Methods for Optical Physics and Engineering by Gregory J. Gbur
(submitted, tongue-in-cheek, by the author, @drskyskull)
Optical Physics by Ariel Lipson, Stephen G. Lipson and Henry Lipson
National Society of Black Physicists @BlackPhysicists (Twitter)

For a list of photonics books you may never get to read, see Peregrinations.


GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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