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Biosphere
polarizedcyano
05/26/09

 

Light becomes polarized in detectable ways when reflected from chlorophyll and other chiral molecules necessary to life, so scientists working at NIST have built a device that can detect this polarization—potentially offering a way to find extraterrestrial life from great distances. The device has already proved itself able to discern the polarized light scattered from the chlorophyll in cyanobacteria.
Credit: Roger Burks (University of California at Riverside), Mark Schneegurt (Wichita State University), and Cyanosite (www-cyanosite.bio.purdue.edu)



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