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Chocolate is a complex material consisting primarily of a finely crystallized
continuous fatty lipid matrix (cocoa butter) in which cocoa powder and sugar
particles are dispersed. With time, the lipid crystals tend to merge to form
larger crystals on a micron scale, significantly effecting the texture and taste
of the chocolate. These images are of an aged commercial dark chocolate
sample. The topography of the surface is rendered in 3D, while the coloring
is an overlay of the phase image, which highlights the compositional differences
(darker patches being the growing cocoa butter crystals). The samples tasted very good!
Sample courtesy of S. MacLaren and L. Andrae, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.