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!

Polarization Of light

  1. Jul 23, 2009 #1
    Hey all,

    Polarization of light is still confusing for me :-( i read alot but i couldn´t clear my concept . can any body of yous explain...

    I would be very thankful.

    Best regards
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Welcome to PF!

    Hi Abid! Welcome to PF! :smile:

    Light is a vibration.

    If the vibration is in a particular plane, then it is polarised in that plane (which will be perpendicular to the direction of the light)

    If the vibration "spirals" round, then it is circularly or elliptically polarised.
  4. Jul 23, 2009 #3

    Andy Resnick

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    The polarization of light is defined at the instantaneous direction of the electric field vector. If the electric field is confined to a single direction, the light is said to be 'linearly polarized'. Of the electric field traces out a circle, the light is 'circularly polarized'. There's also elliptical polarization states and 'randomly polarized' (sometimes called unpolarized) light. Given a spatially extended electromagnetic wave, 'polarization' has implications for coherence and is also a statistical measure of the EM field.

    Any(*) polarization state can be decomposed into two orthogonal states: vertical and horizontal linear states, right- and left-handed circular states, s- and p- states, etc.

    (*)-the light must be completely polarized, not partially or unpolarized.

    Does that help?
  5. Jul 24, 2009 #4
    Many thankx..for your answer...
    Actually, i m new to optics, and it very difficult for me to imigine theoritically and experimentally...... could you plz give us some simple example to imigine...
    we are working on Ellipsometer, which apply polarize light on the material and than check it change in polarization, in order to study the material
  6. Jul 24, 2009 #5

    Does this help?
  7. Jul 24, 2009 #6

    Andy Resnick

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    It's not clear if you are having problems with the optics concepts, or the matter-EM interaction.

    The classic text is "ellipsometry and polarized light" by Azzam and Bashara. But in general Jones matrices suffice to describe the interaction- read up on those.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook