Nanotech crystal produces 'diamond lite'


Diamonds are so last year. Gems of rare beauty can now be made from simple chunks of silicon using technology developed for telecommunications. The artificial gems are examples of a photonic crystal – nanoscale repeating structures that reflect different wavelengths of light at different viewing angles. Which wavelengths are reflected and in which direction depends on the repeating pattern. This property is exploited in telecommunications to separate signals carried by different wavelengths within the same optical fibre. It also makes the crystals appear to change colour as the viewer’s perspective changes. It was this flickering light from opal,
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