In reading the article abstract What Oxidation State of Iron Determines the Amethyst Colour?, the author states that in regards to the gemstone amethyst, from clear quartz:

The crystal was transformed into violet amethyst by gamma-irradiation. The change in colour was accompanied by changes in the Mössbauer spectrum that can be interpreted as the conversion of trivalent iron into the tetravalent state: $\ce{Fe^{3+}→Fe^{4+}}$

How does gamma radiation facilitate the conversion of oxidation state of iron, from $\ce{Fe^{3+}}$ to $\ce{Fe^{4+}}$?


1 Answer 1


The ionization energy of $\ce{Fe^3+}$ to $\ce{Fe^4+}$ is 54.8 eV.
The energy of typical gamma radiation is much higher (in the order of roughly some keV to a few MeV). Depending on the energy, the interaction of average gamma radiation with the affected electron is mainly due to Compton scattering.


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