Polarized Light and its Effect on Crystals

It never ceases to amaze and surprise me when I look at crystals through the microscope. The crystals form when they solidify from a liquid state. This usually happens from several different spots within the solution at one time. As they form, collisions happen just like in this picture.

With a standard microscope, the crystals are almost completely transparent, barely visible, but by using two polarizing filters, the crystals appear as brilliantly colored structures. One polarizing filter is placed over the light source and another is placed in front of the camera sensor. By rotating one of the polarizers, I generate a deep black field. But when the crystals form, they interact with the polarized light and generate pure colors from the light. Because I use polarized light to gain the colors, crystals display different colors when their orientation is changed in relation to the polarizer.

You can gain a sense of how this happens if you have polarized sunglasses. Hold them out in front of you. Notice how they darken the light to protect your eyes. Now hold them at a 90-degree angle. See the difference in the light? This is due to the light being polarized when it is reflected off surfaces. By rotating the polarized glasses you block this polarized light. This is how polarized light works.

Back to the crystal shot. The colors of the crystals coming down from top left are much brighter and the colors are more diverse than the crystals coming down from the top right (almost at a 90-degree angle).  If I had moved the slide 90 degrees (either direction) the crystals on the right would be lighter and the crystals on the left would appear darker.

Polarized Lights Effect - Vista Focus Fine Art Micro-Crystal Photography

Comment? Please post them to the Vista Focus Facebook page.

 

Sincerely,

Carol Roullard
Artist, Vista Focus
Micro-Crystal Abstract Fine Art

Leave a Reply

5 Comments on "Polarized Light and its Effect on Crystals"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
trackback

[…] “With a standard microscope, the crystals are almost completely transparent, barely visible, but by using two polarizing filters, the crystals appear as brilliantly colored structures.” To read the Artist’s whole article, visit: http://vistafocus.net/polarized-light-and-its-effect-on-crystals/ […]

Filomena Moir
Guest

You’ve made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for
additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.

Wilford Currey
Guest

I wanted to thank you for this good read!! I definitely loved
every bit of it. I have got you book-marked to check out new stuff you post…

wpDiscuz