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

  1. Apr 6, 2010 #1
    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+(2.00×1015s−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.
     
  2. jcsd
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