The structure and optical behaviour of iridescent shells

Raman, C. V. ; Krishnamurti, D. (1954) The structure and optical behaviour of iridescent shells Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Section A, 39 (1). pp. 1-13. ISSN 0370-0089

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Some remarkable optical effects exhibited by nacreous shells have been observed and reported, the following amongst others: The monochromatic reflections and extinctions split into two polarised components at oblique incidences as a result of the birefringence of the material. Light traversing the stratifications obliquely suffers extinction by reason of diffusion by the crystallites of aragonite, this being most rapid for the component of vibration in the plane of incidence. Striking changes are also observed in the character of the diffusion haloes with increasing obliquity of observation, a particularly noteworthy feature being that the different parts of the diffusion field are differently polarised.

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