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QX3 Digital Image Gallery

Polarized Light Photomicrographs

After adapting the Intel QX3 microscope for use with crossed polarized illumination, we have examined and captured a number of digital images for this gallery. The images presented in this gallery represent a combination of techniques with polarized light including the addition of a full-wave (first order) retardation plate between the sample and the analyzer of the microscope.

Aldicarb - This highly toxic pesticide is used to protect orange trees, cotton, potatoes, pecans, and peanuts in Florida and other states. Aldicarb is absorbed by the plant's root system and permeates throughout the tissues, killing both insects that pierce and suck foliage as well as nematodes in and around the roots.

Anthranilic Acid - Once thought to be a vitamin in humans, this aromatic anilinocarboxylic acid is only essential in several microorganisms for the production of folic acid.

Aspirin - A highly effective non-opiate analgesic, aspirin has recently been associated with reduced risks of heart attack. This common household drug also has anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties.

Brilliant Blue Dye - Useful as a stain for proteins in polyacrylamide electrophoresis gels, Brilliant Blue and its derivatives have an absorption maximum with a high extinction coefficient in the blue visible region.

Caffeine - Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant most commonly found in the coffee we drink every morning. As a drug, caffeine is used to help restore mental alertness and to prevent drowsiness.

DDE - This metabolite of DDT is the result of insects being able to enzymatically dechlorinate the toxic pesticide.

DDT (Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane) - The world's best known pesticide, DDT, is a deadly chemical that has been banned in many countries, including the United States. Digital images of recrystallized DDT taken with the QX3 microscope reveal the beautiful spherulites formed by this dangerous chemical.

Liquid Crystalline DNA - Short rod-like molecules of DNA undergo a variety of liquid crystalline phase transitions as the solution concentration is dramatically increased. The images presented here represent the highest concentration of DNA that occurs either in nature or in the laboratory.

Menthol - Widely used as a flavor and fragrance chemical, menthol produces a cool sensation when tasted and smelled. It is commercially found in lotions, shaving creams, and cough drops.

Mifepristone - This highly controversial drug was first developed in France, where it is used to induce spontaneous abortion. Although we neither condone nor condemn the use of this drug, it does produce beautiful crystallites that can be imaged under the microscope

Moth Balls (Naphthalene) - A common derivative of coal tar, naphthalene is used as a precursor to a number of commercial chemical products including antiseptics and pesticides.

Moth Crystals (para-dichlorobenzene) - Less toxic than naphthalene, para-dichlorobenzene also has a very high vapor pressure and is effective in disrupting the destruction of clothes by moths.

Niacinamide - Commonly found in cheese, beans, milk, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and whole grains, niacinamide helps to reduce cholesterol levels.

Sodium Oleate - This unsaturated fatty acid is usually found as part of a group of more complex biochemicals known as lipids.

Tartaric Acid - Commonly used as a flavor for foods and beverages, this naturally-occurring chemical is also used in photography, tanning animal skins, and as a laxative.

Thiamine (vitamin B1) - The first recognized vitamin (thiamine) was discovered when scientists were investigating the cause of Beri-Beri, a disease that causes various neurological and metabolic disorders.

TNT (trinitrotoluene) - This organic chemical explosive is synthesized in the laboratory by careful nitration of toluene.

Urea - Excess nitrogen produced by the body during metabolism is excreted in the form of urea, a water-soluble chemical.

Vitamin B(6) (pyridoxine) - A remarkably versatile vitamin, pyridoxine is involved in numerous biochemical reactions of intermediary metabolism. Common sources of pyridoxine are bananas, carrots, nuts, rice, fish, soybeans, and wheat germ.

Vitamin C - This ubiquitous vitamin has been credited with many medical wonders including being a cure for the common cold and an excellent free radical scavenger in the body.

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