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Circular polarization

  1. Jan 9, 2005 #1


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    Yesterday I was busy inadvertantly simulating circular polarization of light.

    We were taking down the Christimas tree including a very long strand of beads. The strand was composed of 4 strands of beads (each like a pearl necklace) woven in a helix.

    When we (my wife & I) started at one end to unravel the 4 strands from each other, the net result was build up up circular torque as we moved down the length of the strand (it was > 100 feet long). It built up like the knots that form in the elastic of a balsa airplane when you wind it up.

    Each time I lifted the strand, the buildup of circular tension would release, and a circular pulse would race down the length of the strand for several dozen feet.

    OK, probably not a perfect analogy for polarized light, but cool nonetheless.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2005 #2
    Hehe. Oh damn I got an exam which may include a small part on circular polarization in 10 hours time! Time for bed.
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