The Magic of Polarized Light, the Key to a World of Hidden Beauty
Everyone loves a crystal! Think diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and other forms of gem quality crystals. While we may not always recognize them, a great many everyday things are composed of crystals, too. Most remarkably, many things of biological interest, and nearly all common minerals are crystals. You might find exotic looking, and dramatic crystals in the gravel in your driveway, if only you had a way to examine it!
Since the early 1800's, it has been known that plain, white, polarized light, passing through
such a crystal, and a pair of polarizing elements, can produce a rainbow of colors. And
the specific colors we see can be a valuable tool for comparing different crystals,
and understanding their other physical qualities. Different effects, such as
Pleochroism, Extinction, and other results of incrementally slowing some of
that light, are all keys to the historical development of our understanding
That's just what polarized light, and an effective viewing system, let you
do. For a professional geologist, an effective viewing system may mean
a $30,000 petrographic microscope. Even a 30-40 year old 'student
model' petrographic microscope may cost $1,000 or more on Ebay.
But PetroViewer brings the cost of seeing, and demonstrating all these
phenomena to your friends, to a very affordable level.