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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: September 2009

Introduction

Summary

It is the intellect's ambition to seem no longer to belong to an individual.

Human, All Too Human, F. Nietzsche

If one tells the truth, one is sure, sooner or later, to be found out.

(Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young, O. Wilde)

This book has grown out of my own research interests in semiconductor multilayers, which date from 1980. It therefore runs the risk of being far too limited in scope, of prime interest only to the author, his colleagues and his research students. I hope that this is not the case, and of course I believe that it will be found useful by a large number of people in the field; otherwise I would not have written it. Nevertheless, knowledgeable readers will remark on the lack of such fashionable topics as the quantum-Hall effect, Coulomb blockade, quantized resistance, quantum tunnelling and any physical process that can be studied only in the millikelvin regime of temperature. This has more to do with my own ignorance than any lack of feeling that these phenomena are important. My research interests have not lain there. My priorities have always been to try to understand what goes on in practical devices, and as these work more or less at room temperature, the tendency has been for my interest to cool as the temperature drops.