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Photon polarization

  1. Aug 27, 2005 #1
    can some one explain 2 me the basis of photon polarization ...?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 28, 2005 #2


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    See any freshman physics book, or one more advanced, to learn that electromagnetic waves are transverse, and that does it --transverse => two polarization states. Very basic stuff.
    Reilly Atkinson
  4. Aug 28, 2005 #3
    Photons are "generated" when a charge moves in a specific way. If
    the charge moves up and down, the photons that fly off will be polarized

    If the charge spins around, they will be polarized circularly and one of two
    ways depending on which way it spins, CW or CCW.
  5. Aug 29, 2005 #4


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    It's called "helicity operator eigenvalues". Why the photon has two instead of 3, well, it's called "gauge invariance". "Photon polarization" is a bit of an oxymoron, as "polarization" is typical to wavelike phenomena, while "photon" is a particle.

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