Bireflectance imaging of coal and carbon specimens

Although bireflectance measurements are routine, to date they have been limited to selected single point measurements. This study uses a 360 degrees rotating polarizer in the incident light path combined with digital imaging to map the optical bireflectance of a polished specimen over the complete field of view, a system herein referred to as ‘Bireflectance Imaging of Coal and Carbon Specimens’ (BRICCS). True maximum reflectance maps and maps of polarizer angle for maximum reflectance (to identify coordered regions) are obtainable from the same data. A variety of coal, coke, char, graphite, and carbon/carbon specimens have been examined with the BRICCS system and the results demonstrate that the system can produce accurate maximum and apparent minimum reflectance, bireflectance, and extinction angle images. For example, flakes of natural graphite show no bireflectance along their long axis except in areas that have been strained. The images are maps showing the value of every pixel that has been calibrated by mineral reflectance standards. The maps are unique in that they show fields of view that cannot be seen by normal viewing through the microscope. For example, the bireflectance maps show the maximum difference between the maximum and apparent minimum reflectances for each of the million pixels at twenty orientations of the polarizer.