Chemistry in Pictures: A bright morning | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: March 28, 2018

Chemistry in Pictures: A bright morning

Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: Chempics, caffeine, microscopy

Christopher King is a histology technician at the National Institutes of Health, but he also uses his skills as a scientist to create art under the microscope. To produce this image, King spread roughly 25 mg of caffeine powder on a slide beneath a coverslip and then heated it just above its melting point, 235 °C. As it cooled, he pressed some areas to thin out the crystals that formed, trying to keep them less than 30 µm thick. When viewed under a polarized light microscope, the crystals exhibited a rainbow of colors corresponding to their thickness and orientation relative to the direction of the polarized light.

You can see more of King’s artwork on Twitter at @Masterpnside and purchase prints and products at

Credit: Christopher King

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