Lasers reveal the scientific basis for sparkly vampires?

Illustration for article titled Lasers reveal the scientific basis for sparkly vampires?

A recent scientific discovery reveals a remarkable similarity between vampires and diamonds - other than the fact that they both seem, currently, to be a girl's best friend.


There usually isn't much to connect the toothy predators of the night and the sparkly little lumps of carbon that get put on engagement rings. But experiments done on what we assume to be a dark and stormy night prove otherwise.

Once upon a time, a team of scientists were working to develop new and exciting lasers. Their lasers were diamond-based. They had many successes, until they started working with a laser that shot ultraviolet light. It worked well at first, but sputtered out after about ten minutes. No matter what they did, they couldn't make the laser last. After some investigation, they found out that the laser died because it was dissolving the diamond.


Or rather, they were desorbing the diamond. Desorbing is gaining popularity among diamond aficionados because, unlike laser burning, it doesn't leave rough surfaces on the diamond. Under UV light, concentrated intensely enough, desorbing pops carbon atoms off the diamond. It starts with two UV photons hitting a carbon atom, producing an exciton. An exciton is an interesting little physics quirk. Often when photons hit atoms, electrons suddenly move out of their designated spaces within the atom. An exciton is the combination of both an electron and a space, coming out of the atom and traveling together. This pair can make its way through the diamond lattice until a carbon monoxide molecule comes off the surface of the diamond. We can now carve diamonds with smooth, clean lines.

Illustration for article titled Lasers reveal the scientific basis for sparkly vampires?

But let's get to the important question. Is this why vampires shun sunlight? Are they made up of a netting of diamonds that desorbs in the sun? Let's look at the facts. Diamonds and vampires; they're both immortal, they're both extra tough and strong, they've both been known to sparkle in the light, and they're both cold. And it looks like desorbing only works in the presence of oxygen atoms, which means that if sunlight hit a vampire while he was falling into water, a la Daybreakers, the process would be stopped by the lack of exposure to air.

I think the results speak for themselves.

Via Scientific American and Encyclopedia Britannica.


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Dr Emilio Lizardo

I can just imagine the grant proposal for the second phase of this study.

Uh, we've made these really cool, powerful UV lasers with diamonds, but the diamonds keep dissolving away. We need more diamonds, please.