Chemistry in Pictures: Colorful shards | Chemical & Engineering News

Issue Date: January 10, 2018

Chemistry in Pictures: Colorful shards

Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: Chemistry in Pictures, pyrene, polymers, crystals, organic chemistry, microscope
Credit: Ralph Lange
A micrograph of two-dimensional shards of pyrene crystals in a rainbow of colors.
Credit: Ralph Lange

Pyrene is a crystallike solid that is part of a class of compounds used to make pesticides, dyes, and plastics. Ralph Lange at ETH Zurich photographed these pyrene crystals using an optical microscope with polarized light, which created the rainbow of colors. His research group was using the pyrene in a project to make new monomers for two-dimensional polymer synthesis. The goal is for the monomers to arrange themselves in layers in a way that allows them to form covalent bonds only within a plane. When the scientists exfoliate the polymer crystals down to single layers, Lange says, “the sheets are not brittle anymore but rather soft like tissues.”

Submitted by Ralph Lange

Do science. Take pictures. Win money. Enter our photo contest here.

For more Chemistry in Pictures, visit our new home on

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © American Chemical Society

Leave A Comment

*Required to comment