Electromagnetic Radiation
Light, Sound and Waves

Gamma gems

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 IOP RESOURCES

The colour of gemstones is sometimes altered by exposing them to gamma rays. Colourless quartz will become smoky and pale whilst colourless diamonds can be turned blue, green, red and yellow through irradiation. Only a year after Antoine-Henri Becquerel’s discovery of radioactivity in 1896, William Crookes buried a diamond in radium bromide powder for several months and discovered it turned a bluish-green colour. The effect occurs due to carbon atoms being knocked out of the crystal lattice by the passage of gamma rays.


Electromagnetic Radiation
can be represented by The Electromagnetic Spectrum
has the special case Visible Light
is used in analyses relating to X-Ray Scanning
features in Medical Physics

Disable node explorer

Limit Less Campaign

Support our manifesto for change

The IOP wants to support young people to fulfil their potential by doing physics. Please sign the manifesto today so that we can show our politicians there is widespread support for improving equity and inclusion across the education sector.

Sign today