Invited Article: Refractive index matched scanning of dense granular materials

Rev Sci Instrum. 2012 Jan;83(1):011301. doi: 10.1063/1.3674173.


We review an experimental method that allows to probe the time-dependent structure of fully three-dimensional densely packed granular materials and suspensions by means of particle recognition. The method relies on submersing a granular medium in a refractive index matched fluid. This makes the resulting suspension transparent. The granular medium is then visualized by exciting, layer by layer, the fluorescent dye in the fluid phase. We collect references and unreported experimental know-how to provide a solid background for future development of the technique, both for new and experienced users.