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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.

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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Last modification: Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 09:10 AM
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