Calcium chloride – polarized light with compensator

Calcium chloride is used to give fireworks their orange colour, a de-icer, in heating pads and in water treatment. Not only is is hygroscopic, absorbing water from the air, but is has deliquescence, meaning it absorbs so much water as to form an aqueous solution. When I tried to make standard glass slides with glass…

Aspirin Crystals Under Polarized Light

I have always been interested in polarized light and wondered if the foldscope could be made to incorporate it. Knowing nothing about optics, I was pretty sure that the viewing situation would be too compressed for this to work…but I still wanted to try. I purchased two plastic, linear polarizing sheets from Edmonds Optics.  I…

Polarized light foldscopy

I finally got myself a polarizing film. By this I can now polarize the light falling on the sample by placing the film between the light source and the sample and further by placing another film between the lens and the eye/camera I can block the same polarized light so that only light whose polarization…

Minerals with Cross-Polarized Light

Using some minerals samples that we had lying around at work and low budget tools (my fingernail to scrape off pieces of the minerals), I looked at crystal structures with a cross-polarized light Foldscope (see this post for instructions). First, some muscovite mica which forms in very thin sheets and has high birefringence (which is what…

Calcium chloride – polarized

This salt is used to give fireworks their orange colour, as a de-icer, desssicant and in heating pads. Not only is it hygroscopic, taking water from the atmosphere, but it is also deliquescent — absorbing so much water from the atmosphere as to form an aqueous solution. I made this slide with a glass slide…

Raw Honey – polarizing light clip

Raw Honey often contains pollen and tiny bits of beeswax. I think the structure at about 4 o’clock maybe wax, but am not sure if I can say so confidently. As you watch the clip under polarized light, you can see the sugar (primarily glucose and fructose) crystals shimmering. Ambient room temperature is quite high…

Polarized Explorations Part 3!! Copepods and Ciliates

Hello everyone! Thanks to iGEM I’ve had absolutely no time for foldscoping lately 🙁 but I’m determined to exploit this mini vacation in Ratngiri to its fullest 😀 Till now I’ve observed some pure chemicals and fruits in cross polars but this time I’ve tried doing something that I’ve been dying to try my hands…

Polarized explorations part 2

Hello everyone, There are going to be tons of pics in this post so I better limit the words. I have foldscoped 3 compounds here – Citric acid , L-cysteine and Potassium dichromate. Recrystallized Citric acid Just while I was foldscoping these citric acid crystals an orange caught my attention! I thought Why not try…

Cross Polarized Foldscopy!

Hello Everyone! I’ve been dying to try out some polarization foldscopy!! and finally the wait is over! Just last to last week Laks Sir sent me some polarizing filters! I’d been collecting compounds from our Chemistry department and waiting eagerly for the filters to arrive. Here are the first few pictures I took using the cross…


Aspirin crystals under polarized light

Iron II Sulfide

Iron II Sulfide is formed by the interaction of Iron in the egg yolk with sulfur in the albumin when the egg is boiled too long. I boiled the egg for 7 minutes and let it sit. Then I took part of the dark greenish ring and looked at it under the Foldscope with a…

Iron (II) sulphide from boiled egg

The dark ring we see when we overboil an egg is caused by the reaction of Iron in the yolk reacting with sulfur in the albumin. This produces Iron II sulfide. Here you can see the dark Iron II sulfide with plane polarized light And here is the birefringent Iron II sulfide under polarized light!

Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose is treated with boric acid to make household insulation.  Here is a picture with plane polarized light.


This 5-carbon sugar used as a sugar substitute. Though found naturally in a number of foods, and a product of our normal metabolism, industrially it may be produced from wood and wood products. Here are two images with plane polarized and polarized light.

Maple Syrup with Polarizing lenses

As winter approaches, the Maples’ leaves change colors. In a few months, as it begins to warm, the tree produces a sweet sap which is boiled down to Maple syrup, over 100litres of sap are boiled to make 1 litre of the sweet syrup. After sitting out for a few days, it dries. Here is…

Potassium bitartrate

Potassium bitartrate is a product of wine production. It has culinary uses such as in baking, uses as a cleaning product and can be mixed with henna to activate it. It can also be used as a primary reference standard for a pH buffer. The picture was taken with polarizing filters and plane polarized light.TartrateFoldscope

Psyllium husk (Ispaghula)

Psyllium husk is used to increase dietary fibre. Met analyses show it is of benefit for irritable bowel syndrome and decreasing LDL cholesterol. It is also of benefit in improving blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes mellitus.. Here are some images showing psyllium husk with polarized light, plane polarized light and a short video…

Wasp nest

Often seen as pests, wasps have an important role in pollination (especially figs) and can be used for biocontrol. Social wasps make their paper-like nests out of broken down pieces of wood and other material. Here I have the images of a nest with plane and cross-polarized light.

Raw Honey (Unpasteurized)

Raw Honey plane polarized light.  You can see some of the crystalline structure of the sugars here.  


Here is Potash with polarized light and you can see the birefringent KNO3.