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QX3 Digital Image Gallery
Polarized Light


Menthol is the principal constituent of peppermint oil, and can be isolated as a pure white crystalline substance. The fragrance and flavor qualities of this organic chemical have been exploited for many years. Menthol has a peppermint odor and produces a cold sensation when tasted and smelled. Commercially, menthol is used in cigarettes, shaving cream, lotions, cough drops, pharmaceuticals and other products. The digital images below were recorded using crossed polarized illumination with a full-wave (first order) retardation plate inserted between the sample and the analyzer.

Menthol at 10x Magnification

Menthol at 60x Magnification

Menthol at 60x 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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