This sample of inositol—a sugar—crystallized quickly, creating these cracks and colors. Artist Chris King magnified the inositol 100× under a polarized light microscope, which allowed him to observe the different thicknesses of the crystal based on the colors. If the crystal had cooled more slowly, it wouldn’t have as many cracks, wouldn’t have circular air bubbles trapped inside, and wouldn’t have so many colored areas because the thickness would be more constant throughout. The gray-brown areas on top and bottom aren’t as bright because they are not thick enough to interfere with the polarized light.
Submitted by Chris King; follow him on Instagram at @the_masterpiece_inside
Do science. Take pictures. Win money. Enter our photo contest here.
Related C&EN Content: