E&M wave propagation and polarization

• Carolyn
In summary, for two plane E&M waves polarized along the y direction with an angle theta between their propagation vectors, you do not need to incorporate polarization into the equations to get the interference pattern in the z direction. This is because both waves are polarized along y. However, if the waves had different polarizations, you would need to account for it.
Carolyn
Hi, all,

My question is if I have two plane E&M wave traveling in the x-z plane, and they are polarized along the y direction, and I know that there is an angle theta between their propagation vectors, how do I set up the equations to get the intereference pattern in the z direction?

I have set up the equation for the non-polarized part, but I don't know how about incoporate the polarization in y into my equation. Or do I really need to take the polarization into account?

Last edited:
You don't need incorporate polarization into your equations; the fact that both waves are polarized along y means they will interfere simply.

You would have to account for it if they had different polarizations.

1. What is electromagnetic (E&M) wave propagation?

Electromagnetic wave propagation refers to the movement of electromagnetic waves through space. These waves are created by the oscillation of electric and magnetic fields and can travel through a vacuum or through different mediums such as air, water, or solids.

2. How do E&M waves propagate?

E&M waves propagate through the interaction of electric and magnetic fields. The electric field causes particles with an electric charge to move, which in turn creates a magnetic field. The changing magnetic field then creates an electric field, and this cycle continues as the wave travels through space.

3. What is polarization in E&M wave propagation?

Polarization refers to the orientation of the electric and magnetic fields in an electromagnetic wave. This can be described as either linear, circular, or elliptical polarization. In linear polarization, the electric field oscillates in one direction, while in circular and elliptical polarization, the electric field rotates as the wave travels.

4. How does polarization affect the propagation of E&M waves?

The polarization of an E&M wave can determine how the wave interacts with different materials and how it is affected by external factors such as obstacles or interference. Certain materials and structures can selectively filter or block certain polarizations, which can be useful in applications such as communication and optics.

5. What are some real-world applications of E&M wave propagation and polarization?

E&M wave propagation and polarization have numerous applications in everyday life. Some examples include radio and television broadcasting, satellite communication, radar systems, and fiber optics. They are also essential in medical imaging techniques such as MRI and X-rays.

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