Monday, January 02, 2012

Underappreciated papers (not yours)

While doing research, scientists and engineers read (at various levels of depth) many papers.  Every now and then, you come across one that is really great, yet somehow doesn't seem to have received the attention or appreciation it deserves.  I'll pick one here, and hopefully some readers will put their examples in the comments.

One that I like a lot is this paper from Wilson Ho's group at UC Irvine.  Here the authors use a scanning tunneling microscope, and demonstrate that when the tunneling current-voltage characteristic, they get rectification of microwaves.  That is, when microwaves are applied to the tip-sample junction, the result is a dc current proportional to the square of the microwave amplitude and to the nonlinearity (second derivative of I with respect to V) of the tunnel junction.  It's a clean, elegant experiment, with quantitatively accurate comparison of experiment and a simple classical theory - very very nice, and really underappreciated in my view.  

Any suggestions of others?


Anonymous said...

Yes, that is indeed a beautiful clean demonstration of the effect. I agree with you that these types of papers are very underappreciated. In my view this is because the difficulty of doing an experiment is not always taken into account by reviewers/readers.

Anonymous said...

It might be a good idea to send e-mails to physicists like Martin Perl and other Nobel prize winners (experimentalists) and ask them about under-appreciated papers. Also send to National Academy of Science members in various countries. It is good to have a comprehensive list of papers serving as models to imitate.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doug -- I just found your blog and am enjoying it very much. Downloaded the Ho et al paper and was surprised as hell to see them thank J. Marohn in the acknowledgements. -- Cheers from Ithaca, John Marohn