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Can a wave rotate about its axis?

  1. Feb 7, 2005 #1
    Can a wave rotate about its axis??

    Can a transverse wave "rotate" about its longitudial axis (kind of like an airplane's "roll" maneuver)?

    If it could, i don't think we could detect it; if it did, i don't think anything will really get affected. But could it?? Not that it would...i mean, there's nothing making it rotate (or is there something??)...but could it?

    For example, when light diffracts in the air--well, it spreads, but could the wave itself "rotate" about its longitudinal axis (with all that spreading and diffracting)? not that it would affect anything, but could it??
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2005 #2


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    U refer to a plane wave...??I wouldn't call that "wave rotation".Other things wan rotate,e.g.VECTORS... :wink:

    Can u please expose shortly the theory which asserts that light diffracts in the air...?Maybe i should read again those 350 pages in Born & Wolf...

  4. Feb 8, 2005 #3


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    A circularly polarized light wave does what you want.
    Reilly Atkinson
  5. Feb 8, 2005 #4
    To make a linearly polarized beam rotate, you make it go through an "optically active" material or use the magnetic Faraday effect. The difference between the two are being discussed here :


    Though the effect is not very important in natural systems, it is extremely important for many optical devices.
  6. Feb 8, 2005 #5
  7. Feb 8, 2005 #6


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    Circular polarisers are used in photography to deepen blue skies and reduce reflections on plane surfaces, - linear polarisers do the same job but tend to interfere with autofocus and TTL metering systems.
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