Royal Society Publishing

The Decay Time of N3 Luminescence in Natural Diamond

M. F. Thomaz, G. Davies


Measurements are reported of the decay time of photoluminescence from the N3 centre: an impurity centre commonly found in natural diamond. The intrinsic decay time at low temperature is found to be 41 $\pm $ 1 ns. The decay time is specimen dependent, decreasing with increasing concentrations of pairs of substitutional nitrogen atoms in the diamonds. The data are consistent with an electric dipole, electric-quadrupole coupling of the N3 centres to the nitrogen pairs. In addition, the decay time is reduced by raising the specimen temperature, especially above 450 K. These results are consistent with internal conversion occurring into another excited electronic state of the N3 centre. The properties required for this state agree with deductions from other optical and electron paramagnetic resonance (e.p.r.) data. The radiative lifetime of the N3 luminescence transition is estimated at 150 ns, in agreement with previous luminescence efficiency measurements.