Double refraction in a calcite crystal

Double refraction in a calcite crystal

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Caption: Double refraction (birefringrnce) in a calcite crystal. this phenomenon occurs where a material is not uniform and affects light differently in different directions (anisotropy). This phenomenon, which is similar to polarisation, splits the light ray into two components, the fast or ordinary ray and the slow or extraordinary ray. Because the two types of waves travel at different speeds, they get out of phase, producing the double images behind the crystal. Calcite consists almost entirely of calcium carbonate. It is the main constituent of limestone and marble. This is a specimen if Iceland spar from Rodefjord, Iceland.

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