Meteorite NWA 10499 Thin Section in a PetroViewer
Terrestrial feldspars seen in a PetroViewer

Why did we develop the PetroViewer?

Alternating cutaway views of PetroViewer and Petrogrsphic microscope

​A PetroViewer is an ultra compact, economical analog to a Petrographic Polarizing Microscope.  For a fraction of the cost of a single research grade thin section, you get a means of both controlling and observing in detail the interaction of birefringent minerals and polarized light.  While the shape is far more compact, your PetroViewer includes components that duplicate the key functions of each of the elements identified in the schematic diagram of a polarizing petrographic microscope seen below.  Naturally, a high quality microscope is optimized for the precise measuring of both the specimen, and the optical phenomena under study.  While a PetroViewer displays these same phenomena, the precise control and measurement are not provided for.

Just what is a PetroViewer?

​As an avid meteorite collector, I was regularly treated to written explanations of how to tell a meteorite from a 'meteor-wrong'.   Often, after weighing the details of external appearance, magnetic propensities and larger-scale features as exposed within, the discussion would turn to the definitive analysis of a "Thin Section".  And there would be colored photos that went way, way beyond the browns, grays and blacks the whole meteorite commonly sported.

Finally, one day I saw a meteorite thin section through a scope.  WOW!  

This is the real reason for a PetroViewer:   Seeing the effects of rotating the specimen, and inserting a full-wave retarder into the optical path was so much more impressive than even the coolest colored photos,  Thin sections under polarized light simply cannot be well represented by still photography!


I immediately began searching for a way to make this same experience available to other enthusiasts.  I hope your PetroViewer brings you that same joy and wonder at seeing how polarized light offers a window into solid rock!