"Physics is a genuine passion for me, and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to take part in a real project within a friendly and welcoming research group."
Chameleon diamonds are naturally occurring diamonds which can change their colour. This is due to defects in the stones which change their charge state. Greg Ross, a second year undergraduate studying Physics at Warwick, spent last summer working with Dr Mark Newton on an advanced project that investigated optical spin polarization of colour centres in diamond. Dr Newton’s project aimed to study diamond samples containing appropriate combinations of point defects such that charge transfer could be promoted between defects by heating, and then the process reversed through illumination. Defects which change their charge state in this way are called photo-chromic, and it is this that results in the colour change of the diamond.
Dr Newton commented: "This is not straight forward and the measurements required patience, perseverance and great care. Greg learned how to use many powerful software analysis tools, and this will stand him in good stead for future project work requiring careful analysis of substantial amounts of data."
Greg himself said: "I really enjoyed the summer project. It was very interesting to have first hand experience of how physics research is undertaken. Although much of the experimental work was lengthy, it was greatly rewarding to obtain the result of the activation energy. Most importantly, the process of studying the subject in detail and developing the experiments themselves was very fulfilling."