Chu, Benjamin Department of Chemistry, State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York.
- Critical opalescence
- Time dependence
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The milky iridescent appearance of a dense transparent medium when the fluid or solid is illuminated by polychromatic radiation in the visible range, such as sunlight. Slight changes in the rainbowlike color of the system can occur, depending on the scattering angle, that is, the angle between the directions of incident radiation and of observation. All dense transparent fluids have local density fluctuations due to the thermal motions of molecules, or local concentration fluctuations due to the presence of a second component, such as colloidal suspensions or macromolecules in solution. Local fluctuations in density (or concentration) are accompanied by local fluctuations in the refractive index. Because the fluid is optically inhomogeneous, some of the light is scattered to the side. Normally, the amount of light scattered is very small, perhaps of the order of magnitude of 10−4 or less of its incident radiation. Whenever the amplitude of fluctuation becomes large, a significant portion of the incident light may be scattered. The transmitted light is then visibly weakened, and the fluid looks turbid. In solids, the local optical inhomogeneities may be frozen-in, making the system turbid (opalescent).
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Its dedicated editorial team is led by Sagan Award winner John Rennie. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 39 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8500 articles and Research Reviews covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 17,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information