Photochemistry of Colour Vision

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SOME years ago1, we prepared ‘artificial retinse’ by imbedding in thin gelatin films the pigments extracted from frog retinae. When such films were exposed to coloured light, they exhibited a typical phenomenon called ‘colour selectivity’, and it appeared probable that a similar process might account for colour vision in the living eye. As a result of colour selectivity, a preferential increase in transparency is developed for the wave-length of the exciting light, so that there is a minimum for this wave-length in a curve showing extinction plotted against wavelength. The effects are extremely small, and can be detected only by a special microphotometric device. This is based on the production of photodichroism in light-sensitive solid films which have been exposed to polarized light2.

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  1. 1

    Weigert, F., and Nakashima, M., Z. phys. Chem., B, 7, 25 (1930).

  2. 2

    Weigert, F., Ann. Phys., (4), 63, 689 (1920).

  3. 3

    Weigert, F., Z. phys. Chem., B, 18, 73 (1932).

  4. 4

    cf. Tansley, Katharine, J. Physiol., 71, 442 (1931).

  5. 5

    Chase, A. M., Science, 87, 238 (1938).

  6. 6

    Wald, G., NATURE, 140, 545 (1937).

  7. 7

    cf. Hardy, A. C., "Handbook of Colorimetry" (Cambridge, Mass., 1936).

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WEIGERT, F., MORTON, J. Photochemistry of Colour Vision. Nature 143, 989–990 (1939) doi:10.1038/143989a0

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