Polarized light from any suface?

In summary, different types of surfaces, including opaque ones, can reflect light with partially or completely polarized light if they have smooth flat parts that can act like mirrors. The key factor is the presence of facets on the surface, which can produce polarized light in the direction of the viewer's line of sight. This phenomenon can even be observed on surprising surfaces such as manhole covers, smooth ponds, and smooth snow. However, it may be difficult to detect due to the changing alignment of facets when using polarized lenses.
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kelvin490
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From a textbook I read something like this: "When sunlight is reflected from a horizontal surface, the
plane of incidence is vertical, and the reflected light contains a preponderance of light that is polarized in the horizontal direction... The manufacturer makes the polarizing axis of the lens material vertical, so very little of the horizontally polarized light reflected from the road is transmitted to the eyes."

I just wonder whether all types of surfaces, even it is opaque, can reflect light with partially or completely polarized light which the perpendicular component of E field is dominant?

For opaque surface like asphalt road, are there any critical angle so that all the reflected light are completely polarized (like the Brewster's angle in water, glass etc)?
 
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The key thing is that the surface have facets. That is, it has to have smooth flat parts that can reflect light like a mirror. If the surface is just amorphous then the scattering will tend to be too disorganized to see the polarization.

I have seen polarized light coming off quite surprising surfaces. A manhole cover for example. It had been polished fairly smooth by traffic. The surface of a really smooth pond can show this. Sometimes really smooth snow can do it.

Asphalt often has many small flat shiny facets. These can produce polarized light in the direction that is just right for the selection of facets turned the correct direction for you to see. It may be hard to detect this because if you turn the polarized lens of your sunglasses, then other facets can come into and go out of alignment.
 
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Related to Polarized light from any suface?

1. What is polarized light?

Polarized light is a type of light that has its electric field oscillating in a single plane, rather than in all directions. This results in the light waves being aligned in a specific direction, which can have various effects on how the light interacts with different surfaces.

2. How does polarized light differ from regular light?

Regular light, also known as unpolarized light, has electric fields oscillating in all directions perpendicular to the direction of propagation. In contrast, polarized light has its electric field oscillating in a single plane, resulting in a more defined direction of propagation.

3. What causes light to become polarized?

Light can become polarized through various processes, such as scattering, reflection, or transmission through certain materials. These processes can filter out or align the electric field in a specific direction, resulting in polarized light.

4. How does polarized light affect our perception of objects?

Polarized light can affect how we perceive objects by altering their appearance and visibility. For example, polarized sunglasses can reduce glare from reflective surfaces, making objects appear clearer and more defined. Similarly, polarized light can also affect how we perceive colors, as it can selectively filter out certain wavelengths.

5. In what applications is polarized light useful?

Polarized light has various uses in science and technology. It is commonly used in polarization microscopy to enhance contrast and reveal more details in a sample. It is also used in photography and cinematography to reduce glare and improve image quality. Additionally, polarized light is also utilized in LCD screens, 3D glasses, and other optical devices.

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