Mapping molecular orientation using polarized light microscopy

Rudolf Oldenbourg and Talon Chandler

(Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole MA)

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Date: November 1, 2017


Polarization is a basic property of light, but the human eye is not sensitive to it. Therefore, we don’t have an intuitive understanding of polarization and of optical phenomena that are based on it. They either elude us, like the polarization of the blue sky or the rainbow, or they puzzle us, like the effect of Polaroid sunglasses. Meanwhile, polarized light plays an important role in nature and can be used to manipulate and analyze molecular order in materials, including living cells, tissues, and whole organisms, by observation with the polarized light microscope.

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Laboratory of Rudolf Oldenbourg

Created: Wednesday, November 1st, 2017