1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Photon as a particle and e-ray and o-ray

  1. Jun 18, 2013 #1
    Wiki in birefringence says, "light with linear polarizations parallel and perpendicular .... the component with polarization perpendicular to this axis will be refracted as per the standard law of refraction, while the complementary polarization component will refract at a nonstandard angle determined by the angle of entry and the birefringence. The light will therefore split into two linearly polarized beams, known as ordinary and extraordinary.

    My understanding is that if I have a 45 degree linear polarized light (polarized photon particles?) I still end up with an o-ray photon and an e-ray photon.

    But as a particle a photon can not be split so I would assume the 45 degree linear polarized photon would either rotate to the vertical or horizontal linear polarization.

    Is this correct?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 18, 2013 #2

    Simon Bridge

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You are mixing up models that are not meant to be mixed.
    The "ray" description is classical, the photon description is quantum mechanics.
    The classical effect is an emergent behavior what happens on average.
  4. Jun 18, 2013 #3
    A photon polarized at a 45 degree angle is in a superposition of being in of the 0 degree and 90 degree states. When it hits the polarizer, it will collapse it into one of the states, which each having 50% probability. So half of the photons will be ordinary and the other half will be extraordinary, recovering the classical expectations for the experiment.
  5. Jun 18, 2013 #4
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook