Demonstrating Basic Properties and Application of Polarimetry Using a Self-Constructed Polarimeter
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Chemical Education. 2020, 97 2196-2202. 10.1021/acs.jchemed.9b00763
An easily constructed and inexpensive polarimeter with an optical rotation angle resolution of about 0.5° is presented. It is made from small pieces of polarizing film, 2 LEDs, a protractor, and a few wires, all held in place with plastic interlocking toy bricks, such as Lego bricks. The instrument was used to demonstrate the optical rotation of plane polarized light as a function of concentration, path length, temperature, and wavelength, and to determine enantiomeric excess in solutions of arabinose, the amount of limonene in citrus ski wax remover, and optical rotations of various types of honeys and essential oils. Results were comparable to values obtained on a commercial scientific instrument, and with literature values.