New Method for Identification of Blue Topaz—An Application of Cathodoluminescence(CL)

Ying Song, Xinqiang Yuan

Abstract


Blue colored topaz is the most commercialized gemstone worldwide at present. Very rare in nature, most of these
topazes are treated by laboratory irradiation with gamma ray, neutron or electron, or in combination with them ever
since more than 30 years ago. Knowledge about the origin of the blue color in topazes is not well understood, and a
method to identify blue topaz nondestructively is a worldwide problem.
In this research, the tested samples were natural blue, colorless topazes and irradiated blue topazes which were firstly
tested by using UV lamp (????=365, 254nm). Results showed that the UV fluorescence of the natural blue topazes ranged
from very strong to very weak, while those of the irradiated blue topazes were always very weak or even no
fluorescence. Based on the UV fluorescence testing, their cathodoluminescence(CL) characteristics were studied
emphasisly by using CL-2 cathodoluminescence spectroscope produced by Gemmological Institute of CUG and
USB2000 CCD multi-channel spectroscope produced by Ocean Optics, U.S. For this study, CL spectra was acquired at
an accelerating voltage of 9.5~10.5 kV, a 0.95~1.05 mA beam current, and entrance and exit slit widths of 4 mm.
Results indicated that the maximum of the broad emission bands of all the topazes were always at approximately 500
nm with a side band at approximately 492 nm, and CL of natural blue topazes was the strongest (about 40~50 counts),
followed by the natural colorless topazes (about 20~30 counts) and the irradiated blue topazes(less than 15 counts), only
1/3 of the natural blue topazes. Therefore, CL characteristics could be used to separate the natural blue topaz from the
irradiated blue topazes rapidly and nondestructively.

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Journal of Geography and Geology   ISSN 1916-9779 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9787 (Online)

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