Calcite crystal and its refractive index ellipsoid

  • Rotate the crystal/ellipsoid by dragging the handles for the angles Θ (inclination to x-y plane) and Φ (azimuth in x-y plane).
  • Watch the intersection of the ellipsoid with the gray x-y plane change as you rotate the crystal.
  • Drag the whole graphics to change the view point.
  • The dark red line is the optic axis of the uniaxial, negatively birefringent crystal (ne < no). 
  • In this demonstration the compression of the refractive index ellipsoid is exagerated (for calcite: ne = 1.486; no = 1.658).
  • The bright green line represents the slow axis orientation for a beam of light propagating through the crystal along the z-axis.
  • This simulation does not account for the bending of the light beam when it enters the crystal, neither for the slightly different propagation directions of the e- and the o-ray inside the crystal.


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Last Page Update on September 12 2018 18:56