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Big Book on Tiny Subject

Engineering Professor Publishes Handbook on Nanoscience

Alexander Balandin’s five-volume handbook is a comprehensive look at a rapidly evolving field.

(September 13, 2006)

Alexander Balandin and his Handbook of NanoscienceEnlarge

Alexander Balandin and his Handbook of Nanoscience

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — — At five volumes and approximately, 2,500 pages, University of California, Riverside Electrical Engineering Professor Alexander Balandin’s handbook on nanotechnology is a big book about the tiniest of things.

But the explosive growth in the field of nanotechnology — where things happen at the molecular level — needed some kind of comprehensive source document that tackled the fundamental principals of, say, quantum dots, or nanowires. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter or about 100,000 thinner than a human hair.

So when American Scientific Publishers approached Balandin and Kang L. Wang of UCLA to co-author the work, Balandin took the challenge. The result, after two-year’s work, was “The Handbook of Semiconductors Nanostructures and Nanodevices.”

“I had to consider the headaches of the project,” Balandin said of the challenges of writing a book about a field that changes so rapidly. “We defined the topics for each volume in broader terms and took an approach to capture the fundamental aspects of the field.”

The upside was the remarkable network of researchers and experts Balandin built in tackling this project and the prestige it would bring UCR. The campus’ leading position in the field becomes apparent to the user by the fact that the handbook features four chapters with the work of UCR researchers such as Roger Lake, on electron device modeling; Balandin on nanostructures made of wide band-gap semiconductors; Jianlin Liu, on self-assembly of quantum dots; and Sakhrat Khizroev, on nanoscale magnetic memory devices.

Balandin, who wrote the introduction to the volumes, assembled an international team of more than 200 recognized experts from more than 20 countries to bring this handbook to print.

“The Internet and e-mail made this whole thing possible,” Balandin said. “I don’t think it could have been possible even with overnight mail shipments the old fashioned way.”

The volumes were broken down into fundamental aspects of the field. The first volume deals with quantum dots, nanowires and nano-assemblies. The second volume covers nanofabrication and Nanoscale characterization, while volume three deals with spintronics and nanoelectronics. The fourth volume covers nanophotonics and optoelectronics. The final volume examines nanodevices and circuits.

The handbook is aimed at researchers at national laboratories, universities and high-technology companies.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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