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Silly polarization question

  1. Aug 18, 2013 #1
    Hi,
    I'm sorry this is a silly question. My basic understanding of EMR is that it is an oscillating electric field perpendicular to an oscillating magnetic field, and my basic understand of polarization is that it lets either horizontally or vertically oriented EMR through. How can that be if EMR is composed of two perpendicular fields? Thanks!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2013 #2

    Bill_K

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    Science Advisor

    That's what an electromagnetic wave is always like - an oscillating electric field perpendicular to an oscillating magnetic field. By convention, the direction of polarization is taken to be the direction of the electric field.
     
  4. Aug 18, 2013 #3
    Thanks!
     
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