The hidden beauty of vitamin C revealed
vitamin-c
Vitamin C under the microscope. Top left and bottom two images by Spike Walker, top right by David Maitland.

It’s so much a part of our everyday lives that we don’t often think about vitamin C. Unless of course we know we’re about to get a cold and force a handful of chunky orange-flavoured tablets down our throats to stave off the symptoms. But have you ever wondered what vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, looks under the microscope?

In the above collage, the top left and bottom two images were taken by Spike Walker, an award-winning British photomicrographer and retired school teacher who uses a Zeiss Ultraphot lll microscope with built-in camera to reveal the strange and fantastic structures that make up this scurvy-fighting substance.

And the top right-hand image was captured by another award-winning British photomicrographer, David Maitland, as part of Sharp's 2014 campaign, 'See the Unseen'. "Vitamin C is a colourless white powder, but if you dissolve it in water and crystallise it, under a polarising light microscope the colours and forms that you see are spectacular," said Maitland. "Vitamin C just comes alive; the colours, the patterns of crystal formation are wonderful, wonderful things."

Maitland produced a video about how he does it: