Starting in the 1960s the field of materials science has undergone significant changes,
from a field derived largely from well-established disciplines of metallurgy and ceramics
to a field that includes microelectronics, polymers, biomaterials, and nanotechnology. The
stringent materials requirements, such as extreme purity, perfect crystallinity and defectfree
materials for the microelectronics revolution in the 1960s, were the prime movers.
Major developments in other technologically significant fields, such as polymers, optics,
high-strength materials that can withstand hostile environments for space and atmospheric
flight, prosthetics and dental materials, and superconductivity, have along with
microelectronics changed materials science from a primarily metallurgical field to a broad
discipline that includes ever-growing numbers of classes of materials and subdisciplines.
This book is a textbook that ambitiously endeavors to present the fundamentals of the
modern broad field of materials science, electronics materials science, and to do so as a
first course in materials science aimed at graduate students who have not had a previous
introductory course in materials science. The book’s contents derive from course notes
that I have used in teaching this first course for more than 20 years at UNC.
The initial challenge in teaching a one semester first course in this broad discipline of
electronics materials science is the selection of topics that provide sufficient fundamentals
to facilitate further advanced study, either formally with advanced courses or via self
study during the course of performing advanced degree research. It is the main intent of
this book to provide fundamental intellectual “tools” for electronic materials science that
can be developed through further study and research. The book is specifically directed
to materials scientists who will focus on electronics and optical materials science,
although with an emphasis on fundamentals, the material selected has benefited polymer
and biomaterials scientists as well, enabling a wide variety of materials science, chemistry,
and physics students to pursue diverse fields and qualify for a variety of advanced
courses. With such a broad intent virtually all of materials science would be relevant,
since modern electronics materials include many diverse materials, morphologies, and
structures. However, there was a self-limiting mechanism, namely it all had to fit into one
semester. Consequently fundamentals are stressed and descriptive material is limited.