This sample of inositol, a sugar alcohol, crystallized quickly, creating these cracks and colors. Viewed at 100× magnification under a polarized light microscope, allows observation of 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.
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