What happens in these Lattices when Heat
Transports Vibrations through a solid mass?
T = 3Nk is much too neat;
A rigid Crystal's not a fluid Gas.
Debye in 1912 proposed Elas-
Tic Waves called phonons which obey Max Planck's
Great Quantum Law. Although amorphous Glass,
Umklapp Switchbacks, and Isotopes play pranks
Upon his Formulae, Debye deserved warm Thanks.
On Free Electrons: in Germanium
A touch of Arsenic liberates; in blends
Like Nickel Oxide, Ohms thwart Current. From
Pure Copper threads to wads of Chewing Gum
Resistance varies hugely. Cold and Light
As well as "doping" modify the sum
Of Fermi Levels, Ion scatter, site
Proximity, and other factors recondite.
Textbooks and Heaven only are Ideal;
Solidity is an imperfect state.
Within the cracked and dislocated Real
Nonstoichiometric crystals dominate.
Stray Atoms sully and precipitate;
Strange holes, excitons, wander loose; because
Of Dangling Bonds, a chemical Substrate
Corrodes and catalyzes – surface Flaws
Help Epitaxial Growth to fix adsorptive claws.
While Sunlight, Newton saw, is not so pure;
A Spectrum bared the Rainbow to his view.
Each Element absorbs its signature:
Go add a negative Electron to
Potassium Chloride; it turns deep blue,
As Chromium incarnadines Sapphire.
Wavelengths, absorbed, are reemitted through
Fluorescence, Phosphorescence, and the higher
Intensities that deadly Laser Beams require.
Magnetic Atoms, such as Iron, keep
Unpaired Electrons in their middle shell,
Each one a spinning Magnet that would leap
The Bloch Walls whereat antiparallel
Domains converge. Diffuse Material
Becomes Magnetic when another Field
Aligns domains like Seaweed in a swell.
How nicely microscopic forces yield,
In Units growing Visible, the World we wield!
*Note: (1/29/09): This poem was originally published without last two lines of the first stanza. Apologies to John Updike, and thanks to Bongobimbo for pointing out the omission.