- #1

Chen

- 977

- 1

I'm trying to understand how exactly light changes its polarization when reflected from a mirror, for example.

I'm quite familiar with Fresnel's equations and resulting coefficients, but I'm not sure how the phase of the TE and TM polarizations changes upon reflection.

For example, let's say I have a mirror standing in the YZ plane, and I'm firing a laser towards the mirror with a k-vector that lies in the XY plane, and makes a small angle with the normal to the mirror.

If the beam is originally linearly polarized thus / when looking towards the mirror (let's say 45 degrees with the Z axis), how will it be polarized after the reflection? Looking away from the mirror, would it be / still, or would it be transformed into \? (due to a phase change of the TM polarization)

Looking at this page:

http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/FresnelEquations.html

I see that the reflection coefficient for both polarizations differs only by a phase of pi for normal incident.

How is this possible? I thought that for normal incidence, there is no difference between TE and TM, so how can there be a different reflection coefficient for them?

Any help would be welcome.

Thanks,

Chen