Story behind my J. Phys. Condens. Matter article

Story behind article A. Moroz and C. Sommers, Photonic band gaps of three-dimensional face-centered cubic lattices,
J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 11, 997-1008 (1999) [physics/9807057]

The article J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 11, 997-1008 (1999) [physics/9807057] is the first one to confirm (up to a small modification) the plane-wave method result by H.S. Sozuer, J. W. Haus, and R. Inguva [see their article Photonic bands: Convergence problems with the plane-wave method, Phys. Rev. B 45, 13962-13972 (1992)] that the required dielectric contrast for an opening of the complete band gap of an inverted face-centered-cubic (fcc) structure of spheres is approx 8.2, by a different, namely the bulk KKR method. The manuscript of the article was originally submitted to Phys. Lett. A (manuscript number La98/627) on February 18, 1998, during my 1997-1999 AMOLF period. Therefore, under optimal circumstances, the article would have in any case appeared before the article by K. Busch and S. John, Photonic band gap formation in certain self-organizing systems, Phys. Rev. E 58, 3896 (1998) [September issue], dealing with a similar issue using the plane-wave method. Well, if ...

At that time, during my AMOLF period, I was regularly participating in work discussions of Lagendijk's group at the University of Amsterdam (which then, among many others, included W. Vos, and later on R. Sprik), and enjoyed friendly and stimulating atmosphere there (my personal perception). Therefore, it appeared natural to trust Ad Lagendijk, then editor of Phys. Lett. A, to take good care of my manuscript. Early in May 1998, i.e. 3 months after manuscript submission, Lagendijk inofficially informed me that he received a first (negative) referee report and that he was still awaiting a second one. This had already been rather late for Phys. Lett. A, wherein some articles used to be accepted within 2 weeks. Nevertheless, strange enough, it took further two months, and 5 months (!!!) after the manuscript submission, before Lagendijk provided me with the mere single (negative) referee report. All that despite Lagendijk's extensive network of referee's. Then in the middle of September 1998, after my rebuttal, the manuscript was refused by Lagendijk for a publication for the reason that there was nothing new in it.

Eventually, the manuscript was published in the last January 1999 issue of J. Phys. Condens. Matter, with almost 12 months delay since the manuscript had been completed. (In J. Phys.: Condens. Matter, the time between the manuscript submission and its publication took mere 4 months.) Since then, the article has become one of my most frequently cited articles, exceeding recently the number of 100 citations. (The article follow up by K. P. Velikov, A. Moroz, and A. van Blaaderen, Photonic crystals of core-shell colloidal particles, Appl. Phys. Lett. 80, 49-51 (2002) [pdf], which confirmed experimentally some of the article predictions, has recently crossed the number of 110 citations.) Curiously enough, in spite of regularly presenting my results in work discussions of Lagendijk's group, so they were all informed about what I was doing at that time, neither this nor any my other article on photonic crystals, with a single exception, has ever been quoted by the Lagendijk's (and nowdays also W. Wos) group(s) working in the same field. (For a comparison, only my J. Phys. Condens. Matter article contained 5 references to the work of Lagendijk and Wos.)

At least on one occasion I performed numerical simulations for Lagendijk's group regarding the L-gap width of fcc colloidal photonic crystals (at that time R. Sprik was on a sabbatical leave and they did not have anybody to perfom photonic band structure calculations). Yet even that did not deserve a mere formal acknowledgement in the article they later published (after I left Amsterdam). Hopefully, recent Lagendijk's confession Pushing for power, which appeared in Nature 438, p. 429 on 24 November 2005 is a harbinger of positive changes to come.

Alexander Moroz

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