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Passing elliptically polarized light through a linear polarizer

  1. Jan 6, 2012 #1

    Here (https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=119847) it is mentioned that the intensity when passing elliptically polarized light through a linear polarizer will vary when turning the polarizer. Doesn't this only hold assuming the two components of the light are not equal? I mean, the elliptical light could consist of two equal, orthogonal components with a phase of e.g. 20 degrees, but since the amplitudes of the two orthogonal directions are equal, the output intensity shouldn't vary.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 6, 2012 #2
    Re: Polarization

    No, it's correct. The elliptical polarization always has its major and minor axes perpendicular to one another even for the 20 degree separation you suggest. The linear polarizer will analyze these very perpendicular axes at different (min and max) amplitudes.
  4. Jan 7, 2012 #3
    Re: Polarization

    I see it now, thanks!
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