When asked what I am researching in my PhD, I typically explain that I shine lasers at diamonds to make them glow. In case you don’t believe me, here are a few photos to prove it.
The first image shows one of our diamond samples sitting on the end of an Allen Key. We normally use more reliable mounts, but I was after clear visibility for the photo shoot. The second image shows the sample under 10 mW illumination from a green laser. At the flick of a dial I could have had up to about 5 W of laser power, but I was concerned for the poor camera (and my own eyes!). The last image shows the laser-illuminated sample viewed through a filter that cuts out the green laser light. As I keep tellling people, the diamond just glows red.
Click on the thumbnails to see a slideshow of larger images.
There is a surprising amount of physics that can be discovered by studying this red emission.