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Title: What causes the colour of diamonds?
Author: Godfrey, Iain Stuart
ISNI:       0000 0004 5355 3493
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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The research work presented in this thesis comprises an electron microscopy and spectroscopy study of crystal defects that relate to the occurrence of different colours in natural and synthetic diamonds. Two principal lines of investigation have been covered, each with its own objective. The first aims to identify the source of brown colour in natural and synthetic diamond and the second to ascertain the distribution of colour inducing point defects in synthetic diamond. An outline of both areas of research is given below.1) Brown colour in natural and synthetic diamondsColour is a physical property that can be very difficult to characterise in diamond and consequently it receives regular attention from scientists working in the gem industry. In this work, the crystal structures of brown and colourless natural type IIa diamonds are compared along with brown coloured synthetic diamonds manufactured using the chemical vapour deposition (CVD) process. Numerous attempts have been made to trace the origin of brown tints in natural diamond, with the most likely sources, dislocations and nitrogen impurities, ruled out through the application of various analytical techniques. Recently more emphasis has been placed on the study of vacancy related defects in natural diamond and their influence on colour. Differences between the annealing characteristics of brown coloured natural and CVD diamonds suggest that the defect or defects responsible for the brown colour might be different for each type of diamond. The focus of this research work is the analysis of vacancy defects of the order of 1nm in size using aberration corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (AC-STEM). The sub-nanometre size probe afforded by this technique allows such defect structures to be resolved much more readily than with conventional high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HR-TEM). Small-scale contrast variations are apparent in the lattice images of brown diamonds but not of the colourless variety. These features have been compared to simulated phase contrast images of vacancy clusters in diamond.2) Yellow / Green coloured synthetic diamonds grown using metal solvent catalystSynthetic diamonds for jewellery and industrial applications are routinely manufactured under high pressure-temperature (HPHT) conditions that closely resemble those found during the creation of natural diamonds. Although the manufacturing equipment can vary in design, the HPHT process that occurs inside the reaction vessel remains essentially the same. During processing, the carbon source material is dissolved into a molten metal and then precipitated onto tiny seed diamonds that are added to the reaction chamber. Much time and effort has been expended in refining this process to reduce impurities and defects in the finished diamonds. The presence of remnant transition metal atoms (e.g. nickel) in the crystal structure influences the electronic properties and in particular the colour of the diamonds. The position and configuration of these metallic defects has previously been studied by a variety of analytical techniques, including optical absorption-luminescence spectroscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR). These studies have proposed a number of optically active nickel centres at both substitutional and interstitial sites. Their association with vacancies and nitrogen atoms has also been highlighted. This work uses electron microscopy and spectroscopy to characterise the nickel defects in synthetic type 1b diamonds.
Supervisor: Bangert, Ursel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Diamond ; Vacancy clusters ; STEM ; EELS ; Brown colour