Polarization vectors

  • Thread starter emma83
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Main Question or Discussion Point

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!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #3
clem
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Can somebody explain me what are precisely the polarization vectors of a photon and how they relate to the photon's momentum and helicity ?
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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