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Question about wire-grid polarizers

  1. Mar 21, 2010 #1
    Hi, I'm new to this forum, and am not a genius in any way, so I hope you'll be patient with me.

    I've been reading up on petrographic microscopes and understand that unpolarized light is filtered through a polarizer in order to get the EM wave electric fields to oscillate in the same direction. As the unpolarized light hits the wire-grid polarizer, those waves that are parallel with the metallic wire in the polarizer will be absorbed/reflected due to the electric fields interactions with the electrons in the wire. Those EM wave electric fields which are perpendicular to the direction of the wire-grid polarizer will be able to pass through it. My question is: What about those waves that are at a diagonal? Will they be able to pass through or not, and why? Every diagram that I have seen shows that ONLY the waves that are perpendicular to the direction of the wire-grid polarizer will pass through, and any deviation will result in those waves being absorbed/reflected.

    If anyone can help me with this, it would be greatly appreciated!

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2010 #2
    Please let me know if I'm even making sense!

  4. Mar 21, 2010 #3


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    The diagonal waves are just made up of vertical and horizontal (or rather can be resolved into H+V)
    A 45deg diagonal is equal H and V and so on.
  5. Mar 21, 2010 #4
    I think I get it now. Their perpendicular components make it through, while their parallel components are absorbed/reflected.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010
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