# S vs P Polarization: Explaining Ex Component

• geo_alchemist
In summary, the conversation discusses the polarization of light and its electric field components in relation to the surface it propagates on. S-polarized light has electric field components parallel to the surface, while P-polarized light has electric field components in the plane of incidence. The essential difference between the two is the direction of the electric field, rather than the specific (x,y,z) components. A diagram is provided to help illustrate this concept.
geo_alchemist
Let us imagine a surface, with X and Y axes on it and Z axis normal to it.
well, the theory, (in my particular case, some article) says that S polarized light, propagating along the x-directioin possesses only electric field components, Ei, parallel to the surface (||y-direction), i.e. transversal electric waves have Ei=(0, Ey, 0), while P-polarized light has Ei=(Ex, 0, Ez).

The question:

I understand that S-polarized light, propagating along x-direction has only electric field components, Ei, parallel to the surface. Ei=(0, Ey, 0), since in case of s-polarization E is perpendicular to plane of incidence.

Also I understand that P-polarized light, propagating in the same x-direction has Ez component, since in case of P-polarization E is in the plane of incidence.

what I do not understand is, why p-polarized light has Ex component.

Last edited by a moderator:
Do you see the essential difference between s- and p- polarization? It's not the (x,y,z) components per se, it's whether or not the electric field is in the plane of incidence.

Essential difference I see perfectly. what I need is to describe this difference in terms of Ex, Ey and Ez.

Anyway, now I understand it, thanks for picture ;)

## 1. What is S vs P polarization?

S vs P polarization refers to the two types of polarization that can occur when light is reflected or transmitted through a medium. S polarization, also known as transverse electric (TE) polarization, refers to light waves that vibrate perpendicular to the plane of incidence, while P polarization, also known as transverse magnetic (TM) polarization, refers to light waves that vibrate parallel to the plane of incidence.

## 2. How does S vs P polarization affect the behavior of light?

The behavior of light can be greatly affected by S vs P polarization. For example, when light is incident on a surface at a certain angle, only one type of polarization may be reflected or transmitted, while the other is completely absorbed. This can lead to differences in the intensity and direction of the reflected or transmitted light.

## 3. What is the Ex component in S vs P polarization?

The Ex component refers to the electric field component of light that is perpendicular to the plane of incidence. In S polarization, the Ex component is the dominant component, while in P polarization, it is the Ey component (electric field component parallel to the plane of incidence) that is dominant.

## 4. How do we determine if light is in S vs P polarization?

To determine if light is in S vs P polarization, we can use a polarizer. A polarizer is a device that allows only one type of polarization to pass through while blocking the other. By placing a polarizer in the path of the incident light and rotating it, we can determine the type of polarization present by observing changes in the intensity of the transmitted light.

## 5. What are the practical applications of understanding S vs P polarization?

Understanding S vs P polarization is important in various fields, such as optics, telecommunications, and materials science. It can help in the design of optical devices, such as polarizing filters and wave plates, and in the development of communication systems that rely on polarization-based modulation techniques. Additionally, knowledge of S vs P polarization can aid in the study of the properties of materials, as different materials may exhibit different polarization properties.

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