Is Malus' Law a law, or does it derive from Maxwells equations?

  1. Well the question is in the title. Does Malus' Law (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malus's_law ) follow automatically from Maxwell's equations, or is it really an extra thing put in by hand? In particular I'm interested if there is a purely classical electromagnetic explanation (i.e. without having to go into the quantum mechanics of wither the light or the polarising medium at all...)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Claude Bile

    Claude Bile 1,479
    Science Advisor

    Malus' law falls naturally out of Jones Calculus.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jones_calculus

    Jones Calculus basically involves representing an EM wave as a vector, and optical components as matrices, with the matrices defined such that it transforms the incoming EM wave vector in the correct way. For example, a half-wave plate will have a matrix that rotates the incoming vector by 90 degrees.

    Jones Calculus falls naturally from the theory of EM-waves, which in turn drops out of Maxwell's equations.

    Claude.
     
  4. Malus law is a quantum law, in principle. Can we calculate it in a quantum way, so for photons? In the above link this not exist.
    This was calculated by Brukner, but without imaginary numbers. I am interested in classical derivation?
    quant-ph/0212084v1
     
  5. A. Neumaier

    A. Neumaier 1,949
    Science Advisor

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