A polarizing microscope allows to image and characterize birefringent samples.
Polarizers are positioned above and below the sample. A birefringent sample modifies the polarized light, which makes it visible even when it is transparent. For certain samples, it also allows to determine the alignment’s direction of their molecules.
Optical texture obtained using a polarizing microscope of a smectic phase of a non chiral product.
(JC Rouillon, Photothèque CNRS)