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Ocean Optics Helps Examine Hope Diamond

Photonics.com
Jan 2006
DUNEDIN, Fla., Jan. 16, 2006 -- Equipment and personnel from Ocean Optics, a Florida-based developer of optical sensing technology, were recently tapped by the US Naval Research Laboratory to examine a collection of colored diamonds that included the Hope and Blue Heart diamonds.

The Hope Diamond -- the world's largest deep-blue diamond -- usually is exhibited in the Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals at the Natural History Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. According to the Smithsonian, the 45.52-carat "fancy, dark grayish-blue" diamond (in which "whitish graining is present") has a cut of "cushion antique brilliant with a faceted girdle and extra facets on the pavilion."
Roy Walters, director of research and development at Ocean Optics, was part of a team that conducted spectroscopy tests on the 45.52-carat Hope Diamond, the Blue Heart Diamond (30.62 carats) and 239 other diamonds. The Smithsonian Institution -- which exhibits those diamonds, along with other illustrious gems and minerals, at the Natural History Museum in Washington -- had asked the NRL to examine the optical properties of the collection.

Ocean Optics supplied a USB2000-FL spectrometer used for most of the ultraviolet and visible (UV/VIS) studies, a deuterium/quartz light source for excitation, single and seven-fiber bundles to illuminate and read, and a 732-nm solid-state laser and IR512 spectrometer for Raman studies.

The researchers carried out Raman spectroscopy and studied absorption, fluorescence, phosphorescence and the spectral and temporal properties of the diamonds' phosphorescence. The study was a rare opportunity to examine optical defects in natural diamonds with color, including the Hope, the largest known deep-blue diamond. Blue diamonds are of particular interest for their semiconducting electrical properties.

Analysis of the data is underway. The NRL has been creating synthetic diamonds for years to research their use as thermal, optical and electrically semiconducting materials for Department of Defense applications. Learning about the impurities inherent to natural diamonds is an important foundation to understanding the defects observed in synthetic diamonds.

Ocean Optics -- part of the Halma Group of safety and detection companies -- makes spectrometers, chemical sensors, metrology instrumentation, optical fibers, thin films and optics for medical and biological research, environmental monitoring, science education and entertainment lighting and display applications.

For more information, visit: www.oceanoptics.com



GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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