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How to visualize an electyromagnetic (light) wave

  1. Jul 6, 2008 #1
    Could someone please point me to a 'flash' or 'Java' type video that would accurately represent the passage of an electromagnetic (light) wave as it travels through space. I am particularly interested in being able to visualize the 'spiral' motion of the wave as the 'electro' and 'magneto' aspects of the wave interact. The imagery that I have seen so far gives only a more or less 'static' view of things, even when the objects represented are in motion, with the electric part and the magnetic part merely 'flip flopping' along through space.
    Thank you .......................PD
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 6, 2008 #2

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

  4. Jul 6, 2008 #3
    Doc Al.....thank you. That's about the best I have seen so for. I wonder if you can answer something for me. In the circularly polarized applet I click and drag to change the angle of view and I see a yellow plane (at the halfway point) through which the wave is traveling. As it does so the wave itself changes shape slightly as its passing through the plane. Could you explain that for me? Thx PD
     
  5. Jul 6, 2008 #4

    Doc Al

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    Re: How to visualize an electromagnetic (light) wave

    I suspect you are looking at the applet titled "Circular wave with polarizer". That yellow plane represent the polarizer. The wave most definitely changes shape after passing through the polarizer: It starts out circularly polarized and becomes linearly polarized. Only the component of the E field parallel to the axis of polarization can pass through the polarizer.
     
  6. Jul 6, 2008 #5
    Ohhhhhhhhhh I see.............thank you very much. I now have a much clearer understanding................PD
     
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