RE: Charcot-Leyden crystals-birefringence?

From:Hewlett Bryan

RE: Charcot-Leyden crystals-birefringence?


These acidophilic needle or lance shaped crystals will appear red and slightly opaque on H&E stains examined by brightfield microscopy.

Perhaps I should have said that these crystals exhibit anisotropism!
The terms anisotropic and birefringent are commonly interchanged.
Birefringence is observed by means of a polarizing microscope.
With crossed polarizers certain objects, such as Charcot-Leyden crystals, will exhibit anisotropism/birefringence and will appear bright on a dark background. When the specimen is rotated these objects will blink on and off approximately every 90 degrees.

When a birefringent object is transilluminated by plane polarized light, each light ray is split into two part-rays. The ordinary ray passes through the object in a straight line(i.e. as in isotropic objects), whereas the second ray is laterally displaced(i.e. as in anisotropic objects). These two part rays differ in polarization direction by 90 degrees. They also differ in their velocity of propogation. That is, they have different refractive indices, hence the object producing them is birefringent.


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