Drugs Under the Microscope
By Rebecca Drew
PSYCHEDELIC images of the vitamins and drugs that fly around the human body have been revealed.
The series of light micrographs (LM) show striking insulin, thyroxine and St John’s Wort crystals that have formed eye-popping visual patterns.
Another shot shows brightly coloured nicotine crystals which ironically appear to resemble burning candles.
Other shots give a new perspective on the readily consumed vitamin c which forms a feathery texture up close and colourful Ibuprofen crystals. The stunning light micrographs were taken by award winning photomicrographer, Dennis Kunkel.
“In my crystal photographs, I can visualise the crystalline birefringence of organic and biological compounds,” said Dennis.
“I prepared all the crystals that I have photographed using polarized light in the light microscope.
“In the preparation, I take the solid form of the compound, such as adrenaline for example and then re-crystallise it using a number of different parameters including temperature, pressure, and time.
“Sometimes I combine different organic compounds to see what type of unusual crystal arrays I can create.”
Birefringence is the double refraction of light in a crystal that enables these colourful patterns to appear.
“The resulting crystal arrays are both science and art to me,” added Dennis.
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