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QX3 Digital Image Gallery
Polarized Light

Moth Balls (Naphthalene)

Naphthalene is an aromatic hydrocarbon that contains two benzene rings fused together between two adjacent carbon atoms. At room temperature, naphthalene is a white crystalline solid with a very high vapor pressure. The principal source for naphthalene is coal tar, and the chemical is used as a precursor to other organic chemicals including plastics, dyes, and solvents. Naphthalene is also commonly used as an antiseptic and an insecticide (primarily moths). The chemical is extremely toxic and should be handled very carefully.

Naphthalene at 200x Magnification

Naphthalene at 200x Magnification

Naphthalene at 200x Magnification

Polarized light images were captured using an Intel Play QX3 computer microscope modified for crossed polarized illumination. Additional light was applied to the specimens using light pipes from a Dolan-Jenner Model 180 fiber optics illuminator containing a 150 watt projection lamp. A 5/16-inch hole was drilled into the light mixing chamber at the base of the microscope and the light pipe was pointed towards the far wall of the chamber to increase illumination.

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