Directions of light, its magnetic and electric fields, and axis of polarization

by David_W_2012
Tags: axis, directions, electric, fields, light, magnetic, polarization
David_W_2012 is offline
Apr6-10, 07:21 PM
P: 3
1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

The magnetic component of a polarized wave of light is given by:
Bx = (4.00μT ) sin[ky+(2.001015s−1)t]
What direction does the light travel, and which axis is the polarization parallel to?

2. Relevant equations

vector E x vector B gives direction of the light wave.

3. The attempt at a solution

I've learned that the light travels in the -y direction, and that the polarization is parallel to the z-axis. However, I don't understand why.

Without being given whether the electric field oscillates in the y axis or the z axis, I'm not sure how one can know that the light travels on the y axis.

As for the polarization, it is always parallel to the axis in which the E-field oscillates, right?

Thank you.
Phys.Org News Partner Science news on
Simplicity is key to co-operative robots
Chemical vapor deposition used to grow atomic layer materials on top of each other
Earliest ancestor of land herbivores discovered

Register to reply

Related Discussions
Electric and Magnetic fields of light General Physics 8
Relating electric fields to magnetic fields Introductory Physics Homework 0
Electric & Magnetic Field & Polarization Engineering, Comp Sci, & Technology Homework 2
Electric fields, magnetic fields and Lorentz frames Advanced Physics Homework 5
Magnetic fields inducing electric fields - turning on lightbulb with magnetic field Introductory Physics Homework 3