Inverted MICROscopy




To my set up under the microscopic I added two cross polariser sheets which triggered the birefringence effect of the crystals with asymmetrical crystal structure such as the DMDNB. Birefringence is the optical property of a material having a refractive index that depends on the polarization and propagation direction of light


image Nedyalka Panova – DMDNB crystals

The traditional kaleidoscope continually changes symmetrical images and become popular optical toy when first manufactured in 1816 by  Sir David Brewster Principal of the University of Edinburgh, 1859-1868.

While nowadays artists and craft people can ‘carve’ kaleidoscope in every found object one can imagine.

The World Arts Film Festivalis is awarding the inaugural Kaleidoscope Awards for excellence in the art of filmmaking:


artist Koji Yamami


image Nedyalka Panova – DMDNB crystals


image Nedyalka Panova – DMDNB crystals

The configuration of the crystals under the lens of the microscope shows different colours when one of the polariser sheets is rotated in an angle in relation to the other. Birefringence is responsible for the phenomenon of double refraction whereby a ray of light, when incident upon a birefringent material, is split by polarization into two rays taking slightly different paths.

The optical illusion observed when peeping in a kaleidoscope made from this 19th century invention a prize looking toy for artists and scientists. A great collection from Japan Kaleidoscope museum can be seen between the 15th and the 18th of April 2016 in the Byre Theater at St. Andres

The show is called ‘Symmetry of Light’ and I will contribute with my birefringence kaleidoscope ‘Twisted Beauty’.


image Nedyalka Panova

Twisted Beauty, silica based aerogel, linear cross polarisers (2015)




Author: nedyalkapanova

Visual Artist working at the interface between Art and Science. Current project: Artist as a materials scientist. Guest artist to Organic Semiconductor Centre, Physics Department, University of St. Andrews.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s