Despite its simple molecular structure, β-alanine can make crystals that look breathtaking under the right conditions. After drying an ethanol-water solution of β-alanine on a microscope slide, Gregory Suryn, a lecturer at Gettysburg College, took this photo as he developed group activities to do with his students. By using a macro lens for his camera and two circular polarizers, Suryn was able to zoom in on this area that’s just a few centimeters wide, and he observed this spectrum of colors, which results from the way the crystals are aligned with and interact with polarized light.
Submitted by Gregory Suryn. Follow him on Instagram @gsuryn.
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