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Interference in a Citrine Crystal

Fissures in minerals like the citrine crystal shown below - about 5 cm long and 1 cm across, can show brilliant interference colours. The process can probably be understood as follows: the light travelling through the crystal is partly refracted and partly reflected at the boundary of the fissure. The refracted light crosses the air-filled fissure and will again be partly reflected, the remaining rays travelling back through the fissure and the first crystal layer, interfering with the light directly reflected at the first crystal-air boundary.


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