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Polarization vectors

  1. May 18, 2009 #1
    Can somebody explain me what are precisely the polarization vectors of a photon and how they relate to the photon's momentum and helicity ?

    Or give me reference of textbooks in which I could learn more on this topic ?

    Thanks a lot for your help!
  2. jcsd
  3. May 18, 2009 #2


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  4. May 18, 2009 #3


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    The simple description is that a photon can be left or right circularly polarized. A left polarized photon has helicity +1 and a right polarized photon has helicity -1. The reason for left being associated with + helicity is that circular polarization in optics is defined by looking at the oncoming light, while the helicity is the spin angular momentum in the direction of the photons momentum.
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