The main advantages of stationary luminescence as a characterization technique of diamond are its relatively simple technical realization and a wide information gained on the impuritydefect structure of crystal. The physical reasons of capability of luminescence come from a very high Debye temperature of the diamond crystal, a strong interatomic bonding, and a relatively weak electron-phonon coupling in optical centers. As a result, a majority of optical centers in diamond possess the luminescence spectra with well resolved zero-phonon lines assisted by vibration-related replica, many of them retaining this spectral structure to room temperature and even above. As zero-phonon line spectrum is normally very sensitive to any external forces applied to the crystal (temperature, mechanical stress, magnetic and electrical fields), the optical centers can serve as sensitive markers, providing much information on the state of the didmond lattice surrounding them.
The value of the luminescence increases when diamond is characterized as a material for electronic and, particularly, optoelectronic applications. In this area luminescence really proves to be a unique characterization tool giving a direct information on optical and electronic properties (for instance, impurity and defect content, lifetime of charge carriers, efficiency of radiative recombination etc.), to be used in the devices.
In this review the basic parameters of the luminescence centers of diamond are considered and discussed from the view-point of the information they provide. Cathodoluminescence of diamond films and ion implanted layers is given as an example of luminescent characterization of diamond. The semiconducting structures with insulating active zones are discussed as a promising application of diamond for light emitting devices operating at high temperatures.