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Photoluminescence of gold, copper and niobium as a function of temperature

Armstrong, H.; Halliday, D.P.; Hampshire, D.P.

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H. Armstrong



A specially constructed instrument for measuring the low intensity photoluminescence emission spectra of metals is described. It uses low luminescence optical components and dedicated sample mounting techniques. Room temperature measurements agree closely with literature spectra for high-purity gold and are found to be sensitive to 100 ppm impurities. Detailed spectra are presented, which are weakly temperature dependent, for gold, copper and unpolished niobium between room temperature and 100 K. We conclude that this work provides accurate luminescence data for Au from 300 K down to 100 K. Although the (variable temperature) luminescence data for Cu are consistent both with the room temperature experimental data in the literature and theory, we conclude the role of surface adsorbates and/or oxides cannot be ruled out. Theory suggests that Nb has a factor ∼50 lower luminescence intensity than Au and Cu because the real part of the refractive index is a factor ∼5 higher and the density of states ∼2 eV below the Fermi energy is a factor of ∼4 lower than Au and Cu. Measurements are presented for unpolished Nb, but given the lack of signal detection for polished Nb and that theory predicts very weak signals, we conclude that the luminescence signals from pure Nb still remain below the sensitivity of our instrument.


Armstrong, H., Halliday, D., & Hampshire, D. (2009). Photoluminescence of gold, copper and niobium as a function of temperature. Journal of Luminescence, 129(12), 1610-1614.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Dec 1, 2009
Deposit Date Jun 30, 2011
Publicly Available Date Apr 28, 2014
Journal Journal of Luminescence
Print ISSN 0022-2313
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 129
Issue 12
Pages 1610-1614
Keywords Photoluminescence, Gold, Copper, Niobium, Emission spectra, Purity.


Accepted Journal Article (1 Mb)

Copyright Statement
NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Luminescence. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Helen Armstrong, D.P. Halliday, Damian P. Hampshire, Photoluminescence of gold, copper and niobium as a function of temperature, Journal of Luminescence, Volume 129, Issue 12, December 2009,

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