Exploring natural gems and minerals by multiphoton microscopy

Benjamin Cromey, Ryan J. Knox, Eric Fritz, Khanh Kieu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The beauty of gems and minerals have been examined and appreciated by optical tools for centuries. Current methods for examining the interior structure of gems and minerals typically requires a sample to be cut and polished prior to imaging. In this presentation, we introduce a new tool for imaging gems and minerals in three dimensions, the multiphoton microscope. We have demonstrated that the multiphoton microscope can capture fascinating information from natural gems and minerals with sub-micron resolution at depths up to the millimeter scale. This new application of multiphoton microscopy may open the doors to non-destructive characterization leading to new information on the formation, structure, and appearance of these stones that have fascinated the eye for centuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLight in Nature VII
EditorsKatherine Creath, Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan, Joseph A. Shaw
ISBN (Electronic)9781510628915
StatePublished - 2019
EventLight in Nature VII 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 13 2019 → …

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceLight in Nature VII 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Period8/13/19 → …


  • Geosciences
  • Mineralogy
  • Multiphoton microscopy
  • Nonlinear optics
  • Optics in nature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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