On the polycrystalline forms of gypsum and their optical behaviour

Raman, C. V. ; Ramdas, A. K. (1954) On the polycrystalline forms of gypsum and their optical behaviour Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Section A, 39 (4). pp. 153-163. ISSN 0370-0089

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Official URL: http://www.ias.ac.in/j_archive/proca/39/4/153-161/...

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF03048533


The paper brings to notice the remarkable optical effects exhibited by a polycrystalline form of gypsum which is different from both alabaster and satin-spar in its structure. It is not a fibrous material but consists of fine rods orientated nearly parallel to the b-axis of gypsum and exhibits a ready cleavage along planes perpendicular to that axis. A source of light viewed through a plate of the material exhibits, in general, three concentric circles which are polarised in a characteristic fashion. The source itself appears as a luminous point on the second or middle circle. It is shown that these circles arise by reason of the reflection of light at the boundaries between the rod-like crystals composing the material, for which the name "fascicular gypsum" is accordingly proposed. A theoretical explanation of the phenomena is given and photographs of the same are reproduced. Observations on the optical behaviour of alabaster and of satin-spar are also reported.

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