1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Circular polarization through a linear polarizer!

  1. Jun 8, 2010 #1
    I have a question about a circularly polarized wave.
    Once this wave passes through a linear polarizer - how is the wave intensity changed?
    Someone has told me that the intensity decreases to its half value, but I’ve read somewhere the intensity is not changed…
    So… what is the answer and why?
    Thank u!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It decreases by half. You can decompose a circularly polarized wave into the summation of two linear polarizations at normal directions (but with different phase of 90 degrees). Align the polarizer with one of the linear polarizations and you can see that you lose one of the polarizations. Since the way you decompose the wave is arbitrary, this is valid for all orientations of the polarizer.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Circular polarization through a linear polarizer!
  1. Circular polarization (Replies: 1)

  2. Linear polarization (Replies: 2)