Three-dimensional-printing aids in visualizing the optical properties of crystals

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3 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 International Union of Crystallography. Crystal optics is an essential topic in mineralogy and is also relevant at postgraduate level in solid-state chemistry and physics. The emergence of lowcost three-dimensional-printing technologies makes possible the creation of tangible objects for multiple educational purposes. Within the field of crystallography and chemistry, some examples of applications of such educational objects have been recently published. These were intended for teaching and learning of crystal and molecular symmetry concepts. In this paper, three-dimensional-printing applications have been extended to crystal optics. A number of tangible models of optical indicatrices have been designed and printed. These models were conceived as dissection puzzles and allow students to actively work on assembling them and analyzing their geometrical features and relevant sections. The STL files of the presented models are made available with this paper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-908
JournalJournal of Applied Crystallography
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2018


  • Birefringence
  • Hands-on learning
  • Optical mineralogy
  • Threedimensional printing


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