A device for producing plane-polarized light, consisting of two pieces of optically clear calcite or Iceland spar cemented together with Canada balsam in the shape of a prism.
- The Nicol prism, which is made entirely of calcite, a doubly refracting mineral, isolates one beam cleanly.
- The two beams, with two different planes of polarization, are then analyzed by another Nicol prism.
- The aluminum handle used to rotate the Nicol prism assembly is clearly not original.
Mid 19th century: named after William Nicol (died 1851), the Scottish physicist who invented it.
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