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Materials

Chemistry in Pictures: Psychedelic spirits

by Alexandra Taylor
September 18, 2018

 

20180918lnp20-psychedelicspirits.jpg
Credit: Bernardo Cesare

This polarized-light micrograph shows a drop of the alcoholic drink Aperol on a glass slide. Bernardo Cesare, a geoscientist at the University of Padua, captured the image after being inspired by the photographs of the late Florida State University researcher Michael W. Davidson, who crystalized alcoholic beverages and photographed them under polarized light. Cesare chose Aperol, a bitter, herbaceous aperitif that originated in the Padua region and is a popular ingredient in a wine-based cocktail known as the spritz. Cesare left the solution to evaporate for almost a month before it reached the right degree of supersaturation; at that point the sucrose in the drink began to nucleate, forming the radiating aggregate of crystals you see here. Cesare notes that in geology, such aggregates are often the basis of three-dimensional textures known as spherulites.

Submitted by Bernardo Cesare


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