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What We See Part 2: Physiochemical Properties of Particles in a Fixed Mount


2023, Volume 70:2, p. 64 – 81


Russ Crutcher and Heidie Crutcher

Color is the key to most of the physiochemical properties of particles. Morphological properties work well in black and white, but not in the realm of electrons and wave interactions with matter; nearly everything here is color. Monochromatic, interference, complementary, and specific heterochromatic colors provide clues to the arrangement of electrons, their number per unit volume, and the forces that affect their distribution. The number of electrons per unit volume, their distribution in three-dimensional space, and the nature of the bonds holding them in that space produce specific colors. They are also responsible for nearly all the physical properties of materials. Thin dielectric films, refraction, dispersion, absorption, reflection, and diffraction give rise to the physical sources of color. The configuration of the microscope is basically the same as that required for morphological properties but with the addition of polarizing filters and compensator plates.

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