The 'Complex Indicatrix'

Article metrics


IN discussing the application of Drude's 'complex indicatrix' for reflected light, M. Berek1,2 originally extended the use of this term to include the two sheets representing the separate values for n and k. Thus he says, "The [cubic] complex indicatrix consists of concentric spheres with radii n and k". Strictly, the cubic complex indicatrix is, as he states elsewhere, a sphere with the complex radius n-ik, and is not itself geometrically representable. The n and k surfaces are representable for the more symmetrical crystals though not for the general case, and in some ways these surfaces take the place of the indicatrix of a transparent crystal. Nevertheless, this use of the term 'complex indicatrix' seems too wide, and I think this is Berek's opinion, for on looking through his later summary (1937)3, I have not been able to find the term so used, though there is no direct reference to the question. No special designation is used for the curves there plotted (pp. 59, 60) and I have recently cited these under Berek's former nomenclature4. A term such as 'representative surfaces' for n, k, R, etc. would, however, appear to be more satisfactory.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Berek, M., in Schneiderhöhn, H., and Ramdohr, P. . "Lehrbuch der Erzmikroskopie", 1 (Berlin, 1934), see p. 130.

  2. 2

    Rinne, F., and Berek, M., "Anleitung zu optischen Untersuchungen ä¦", 16 (Leipzig, 1934).

  3. 3

    Berek, M., Fort. Min. Krist. Petr., 22, 1 (1937).

  4. 4

    Hallimond, A. F., "Manual of the Polarizing Microscope", 91 (York 1938).

  5. 5

    Drude, P., "The Theory of Optics" (English trans, by C. Mann and R. Millikan, London, 1902).

  6. 6

    Capdecomme, L., and Orcel, J., Rev. optique théor. et instr., 20, 47 (1941).

  7. 7

    Galopin, R., Bull. Suisse Min. Petr., 27, 190 (1947) (see p. 197).

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

HALLIMOND, A. The 'Complex Indicatrix'. Nature 163, 729 (1949) doi:10.1038/163729b0

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.