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An instrument used to determine the angle through which the plane of polarization of plane-polarized light is rotated on passing through an optically active substance. Essentially, a polarimeter consists of a light source, a polarizer (e.g. a sheet of Polaroid) for producing plane-polarized light, a transparent cell containing the sample, and an analyser. The analyser is a polarizing material that can be rotated. Light from the source is plane-polarized by the polarizer and passes through the sample, then through the analyser into the eye or onto a light-detector. The angle of polarization is determined by rotating the analyser until the maximum transmission of light occurs. The angle of rotation is read off a scale. Simple portable polarimeters are used for estimating the concentrations of sugar solutions in confectionary manufacture.

Subjects: Chemistry.

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