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Birefringent Crystals in Polarized Light

Explore how a birefringent (doubly refracting) crystal behaves in a polarized light microscope. This tutorial simulates a virtual microscope utilizing crossed polarizers. Instructions for operating the tutorial appear below the applet window.

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When the tutorial first initializes, the crystal is positioned in an East-West direction with respect to the long axis of the crystal and is almost invisible in crossed polarized illumination. Use the Stage Rotation Angle slider to rotate the crystal through a full 360-degree rotation of the microscope stage. When the crystal is oriented at 45-degree angles to the long crosshairs, it is at maximum brightness. A virtual full-wave retardation plate can be inserted (with radio buttons) between the specimen and the analyzer to measure birefringence of the crystal.

Contributing Authors

Mortimer Abramowitz - Olympus America, Inc., Two Corporate Center Drive., Melville, New York, 11747.

Matthew J. Parry-Hill and Michael W. Davidson - National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, 1800 East Paul Dirac Dr., The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 32310.


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© 1995-2013 by Michael W. Davidson, Kirill I. Tchourioukanov, and The Florida State University. All Rights Reserved. No images, graphics, software, scripts, or applets may be reproduced or used in any manner without permission from the copyright holders. Use of this website means you agree to the Legal Terms and Conditions set forth by the owners.
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Last modification: Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 at 02:24 PM
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