Articles | Volume 18, issue 3
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-18-775-2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-18-775-2021
Technical note
 | 
02 Feb 2021
Technical note |  | 02 Feb 2021

Technical note: A universal method for measuring the thickness of microscopic calcite crystals, based on bidirectional circular polarization

Luc Beaufort, Yves Gally, Baptiste Suchéras-Marx, Patrick Ferrand, and Julien Duboisset

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Cited articles

Beaufort, L.: Weight estimates of coccoliths using the optical properties (birefringence) of calcite, Micropaleontology, 51, 289–298, 2005. 
Beaufort, L. and Heussner, S.: Coccolithophorids on the continental slope of the Bay of Biscay, I. Production, transport and contribution to mass fluxes, Deep Sea Res. Pt. II, 46, 2147–2174, 1999. 
Beaufort, L., Probert, I., and Buchet, N.: Effects of acidification and primary production on coccolith weight: implications for carbonate transfer from the surface to the deep ocean, Geochem. Geophys. Geosys., 8, 8, https://doi.org/10.1029/2006GC001493 2007. 
Beaufort, L., Probert, I., de Garidel-Thoron, T., Bendif, E. M., Ruiz-Pino, D., Metzl, N., Goyet, C., Buchet, N., Coupel, P., Grelaud, M., Rost, B., Rickaby, R. E. M., and de Vargas, C.: Sensitivity of coccolithophores to carbonate chemistry and ocean acidification, Nature, 476, 80–84, https://doi.org/10.1038/nature10295, 2011. 
Beaufort, L., Barbarin, N., and Gally, Y.: Optical measurements to determine the thickness of calcite crystals and the mass of thin carbonate particles such as coccoliths, Nat. Protoc., 9, 633–642, https://doi.org/10.1038/nprot.2014.028, 2014. 
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Short summary
The coccoliths are major contributors to the particulate inorganic carbon in the ocean. They are extremely difficult to weigh because they are too small to be manipulated. We propose a universal method to measure thickness and weight of fine calcite using polarizing microscopy that does not require fine-tuning of the light or a calibration process. This method named "bidirectional circular polarization" uses two images taken with two directions of a circular polarizer.
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