Giant Radiation-Induced Color Halos in Quartz: Solution to a Riddle

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  06 Oct 1989:
Vol. 246, Issue 4926, pp. 107-109
DOI: 10.1126/science.246.4926.107


The radii of radiation-induced color halos(RICHs) surrounding radioactive mineral inclusions in mica generally correspond closely to the calculated range of common uranogenic and thorogenic alpha particles in mica. Many exceptions are known, however, and these variants have led investigators to some rather exotic interpretations. Three RICHs found in quartz are identified as aluminum hole-trapping centers. Whereas the inner radii of these RICHs closely match the predicted range of the most energetic common alphas(39 micrometers), the color centers observed extend to 100 micrometers. Migration of valence-band holes down a radiation-induced charge potential might account for enigmatic RICHs. Such RICHs provide natural experiments in ultraslow charge diffusion.