Jun 212007

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.

Phd diamond sample

Phd diamond sample

Phd diamond sample

There is a surprising amount of physics that can be discovered by studying this red emission.

  3 Responses to “Making the diamond glow”

  1. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
    Arthur C Clark

    The man’s comments are particularly relevant about your work at the moment from my point of view. Having said that I hope to have the chance to learn more in the future.

  2. Love the Arthur Clark comment! How long do you have red diamonds for after a 5W shot of laserish stuff?

  3. The red light comes from an energy transition from an excited state down to the ground state (the laser provides energy to get to the excited state to start with). This means that the lingering duration of the red emission is simply dependent on the decay lifetime of this energy transition, which is of the order of 10 nanoseconds.

    So the short answer is that the diamonds don’t stay red for long after you turn the laser off.

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