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In certain anisotropic materials, the property of having different absorption coefficients for light polarized in different directions. There are few natural materials which exhibit strong dichroism. One of the first to be discovered was tourmaline. Light transmitted by thin plates of dark forms of tourmaline is almost completely polarized. See Polarized light

If the absorption in a dichroic material is different for different linear states of polarization, the material is termed linear dichroic. If it is different for right and left circularly polarized light, it is termed circular dichroic. Similarly, there can be elliptically dichroic crystals.

The study of dichroism allows conclusions as to the submicroscopic fine structure of cells. In visible light only a few cellular components, such as chloroplasts, show absorption. An absorption can, however, be produced by staining. The dichroic staining of plant fibers is especially simple. The elongate stain particles of benzidine dyes, for example, congo red, are deposited in an oriented manner in the spaces between the microfibrils and produce an intrinsic dichroism of the fiber: colored for a vibration plane parallel, colorless for a plane perpendicular to the stain particles and fibrils. Therefore, the direction of strongest absorption indicates the course (parallel or helical) of the microfibrils in the fiber.

Ultraviolet dichroism gives direct information as to the orientation of the absorbing molecules or molecular groups in cell structures. The method has been especially helpful for studies of orientation of deoxyribonucleic acid in nuclei and chromosomes. Lignifed plant cell walls show ultraviolet dichroism. It is pure form dichroism, a fact which eliminates the possibility that lignin is in an anisotropic state in the wall.

By irradiation with ultraviolet light, various compounds of the cell are caused to fluoresce. The fluorescent light is polarized if the object is anisotropic. This phenomenon, called difluorescence, is observable in lignifed cell walls, and leads to the same conclusions as to lignin deposition as emerge from dichroism studies.

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Physics. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a difference in the color of uniaxial crystals that have double refraction (birefringence). The difference in color is observed in transmitted light for two directions of viewing—along and perpendicular to the optical axis. For example, an apatite crystal illuminated by a white light appears to be light yellow if viewed along the optical axis and green if viewed perpendicular to this axis. For such conditions of observation the coloring of the crystal is called axial or basic, respectively. When viewed in some other direction, the crystal exhibits some intermediate color—that is, dichroism is a special case of pleochroism.

Dichroism is due to the fact that the absorption spectra of a crystal are different for light rays of different direction and polarization.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


In certain anisotropic materials, the property of having different absorption coefficients for light polarized in different directions.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Martinez, "Determination of the secondary structures of proteins by circular dichroism and optical rotatory dispersion," Biochemistry, vol.
Caption: FIGURE 3: Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy of the sensor.
That means there are low losses associated with the chirality and then low circular dichroism. The value of the equivalent Pasteur parameter can be calculated from this data, following (3) and (4).
Webba Da Silva, "Topological characterization of nucleic acid G-quadruplexes by UV absorption and circular dichroism," Angewandte Chemie International Edition, vol.
At room temperature, the spectral dependencies of magnetic circular dichroism have been measured in the spectral interval between 250 nm and 850 nm.
As the magnetic field increases, the chain structure is reinforced and the impact of linear dichroism is determined to increase.
van der Laan, "X-ray circular dichroism as a probe of orbital magnetization," Physical Review Letters, vol.
(d) Polarized microscopy shows green birefringence and dichroism of amyloid fibers.
Changes in the conformation of zein induced by ultrasound were confirmed by assessment of the solubility, hydrophobicity ([H.sub.0]), ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectra, intrinsic fluorescence spectra, and circular dichroism (CD) spectra of zein pretreated by ultrasound, and these changes were consistent with the observed increases in ACE inhibitory activity.
For example, circular dichroism is commonly used, as it is a quantitative technique that is sensitive to helix content that can give information about secondary protein structure, but formulation buffers can interfere.
The 15 chapters discuss mixed valence oxides, fuel cells and batteries, nuclear fuel, earth science, cultural heritage, free electron lasers, magnetic circular dichroism, liquid systems, and surface metal complexes.
Collagen was confirmed using circular dichroism spectroscopy using Jasco J815 CD Spectrometer from 190 to 260 nm at 0.5 nm resolution and a protein concentration of ~0.5 mg/ml.