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Does linearly polarized light become randomly polarized after diffuse reflection?

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Ryker
#1
Nov4-12, 04:04 PM
P: 1,088
I was wondering what happens with linearly polarized light when it is reflected from a surface such as paper? Since it undergoes diffuse reflection, it is scattered in all directions, but does it become randomly polarized, as well? I can't really find an answer to that anywhere, so I'd be grateful for any responses.
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0xDEADBEEF
#2
Nov5-12, 11:00 AM
P: 824
No, it keeps most of its polarization otherwise 3d cinema wouldn't work. But it is different when the photons get absorbed by a die for example, or when there is dichroism, optical rotation or multiple reflection.
Andy Resnick
#3
Nov5-12, 07:42 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 5,513
It's true some 3-D cinema uses polarization effects- but those also require use of a metallic 'scrim', which is why the polarization states are maintained. Scattering off a rough dielectric will randomize the polarization.

Rough surface scattering is the subject of countless books and ongoing research- Ogilvy's book is a good place to start, if you can find a copy.

Ryker
#4
Nov5-12, 08:50 PM
P: 1,088
Does linearly polarized light become randomly polarized after diffuse reflection?

Thanks for the replies.
Quote Quote by Andy Resnick View Post
It's true some 3-D cinema uses polarization effects- but those also require use of a metallic 'scrim', which is why the polarization states are maintained. Scattering off a rough dielectric will randomize the polarization.
Yeah, this is what I heard today, as well. That diffuse reflection does randomize the polarization, but that if you have some metal coating, the polarization can be preserved. I was told that's why, like you said, 3D cinema can't just use any projection screen, but one with a metallic layer on top of it. So I guess paper randomizes polarization, while a mirror would preserve it, even if reflection was diffuse.


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