Dichroism

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Description

An optical effect in which a material shows two different colors under different lighting conditions. For example, under plane polarized light, calcite crystals will change colors from blue to pink when viewed at different angles. Some materials, such as alexandrite, cobalt yellow, and chlorophyll solutions, exhibit different colors when viewed in reflected versus transmitted light. A dichroic mirror is designed to reflect some wavelengths while transmitting others.

See also anisotropic, and birefringence.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Dichroismus (Deut.); dicroïsme (Fr.); dichroic light

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Ralph Mayer, A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1969 (also 1945 printing)
  • Walter C. McCrone, John Gustave Delly, The Particle Atlas, W. McCrone Associates, Chicago, IV, 1972
  • Richard C. Wolbers, Nanette T. Sterman, Chris Stavroudis, Notes for Workshop on New Methods in the Cleaning of Paintings, J.Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles, 1990
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998