Usually when I don't know what something is, I look it up, then I

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Usually when I don't know what something is, I look it up, then I kinda get it.
But I have no clue what the polarization of light is. All of the articles don't bother to explain it, or are too technical.

In REAL LIFE (not mathematically) what is the different between polarized light, and non-polarized light?

Related: I heard that rainbows are polarized. What would happen if you were to look at one through a polarized film?
 

uby

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Re: Polarization...?

light is a wave in which the amplitude of the electric and magnetic fields vary in space and time. when the oscillations remain in a single plane (i.e., the E field oscillates in the x-plane, the B field in the y-plane, and the waves propagate in the z-plane), the light is said to be plane polarized. most natural light is not plane polarized. the E and B fields can rotate around the direction of propagation, always remaining perpendicular to each other but not always in the same xy-orientation.
 
185
1
Re: Polarization...?

light is a wave in which the amplitude of the electric and magnetic fields vary in space and time. when the oscillations remain in a single plane (i.e., the E field oscillates in the x-plane, the B field in the y-plane, and the waves propagate in the z-plane), the light is said to be plane polarized. most natural light is not plane polarized. the E and B fields can rotate around the direction of propagation, always remaining perpendicular to each other but not always in the same xy-orientation.
What property is different about the photons in polarized light? If I had a photon of polarized light, and one of non-polarized light, how would they differ?
 

uby

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Re: Polarization...?

What property is different about the photons in polarized light? If I had a photon of polarized light, and one of non-polarized light, how would they differ?
the simplest answer is that they would differ in how they interact with other E and B fields. polarization filters are the perfect example of this.
 

Drakkith

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Re: Polarization...?

What property is different about the photons in polarized light? If I had a photon of polarized light, and one of non-polarized light, how would they differ?
I BELIEVE that plarized light is simply light that most of its photons have their fields oriented in the same way. Non polarized light is just a mix of random directions. I'll have to look some stuff up as well, as I am not sure that is 100% correct.

I'm not sure, but this article might help, but i didn't really understand it myself. I'll try rereading it a few times and see what happens.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photon_polarization
 
185
1
Re: Polarization...?

I BELIEVE that plarized light is simply light that most of its photons have their fields oriented in the same way. Non polarized light is just a mix of random directions. I'll have to look some stuff up as well, as I am not sure that is 100% correct.

I'm not sure, but this article might help, but i didn't really understand it myself. I'll try rereading it a few times and see what happens.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photon_polarization
Ooh, this article is much better than the other one on Wikipedia entitled "Polarization." I kinda get it now, because I watched a lecture on YouTube about rainbows/sunsets.

(Here it is if you are curious )
 
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Andy Resnick

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Re: Polarization...?

Usually when I don't know what something is, I look it up, then I kinda get it.
But I have no clue what the polarization of light is. All of the articles don't bother to explain it, or are too technical.

In REAL LIFE (not mathematically) what is the different between polarized light, and non-polarized light?

Related: I heard that rainbows are polarized. What would happen if you were to look at one through a polarized film?
Usually when I don't know what something is, I look it up, then I kinda get it.
But I have no clue what the polarization of light is. All of the articles don't bother to explain it, or are too technical.

In REAL LIFE (not mathematically) what is the different between polarized light, and non-polarized light?
Odd...

In any case, maybe it would be more helpful to stop using the term "unpolarized" and instead use "randomly polarized". Polarization is a *statistical* property of light- the specific property is the direction of the electric field. Light is most generally "partially polarized", and under special conditions can approach complete polarization or random polarization.

Rainbows are indeed partially polarized, as is light from the sky.
 

sophiecentaur

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Re: Polarization...?

Usually when I don't know what something is, I look it up, then I kinda get it.
But I have no clue what the polarization of light is. All of the articles don't bother to explain it, or are too technical.

In REAL LIFE (not mathematically) what is the different between polarized light, and non-polarized light?
If you asked a shopkeeper why he charged you a certain amount and he couldn't justify it mathematically they you wouldn't accept the figure he gave you.
In the same way, you can't divorce Maths and Real Life, when Science is concerned.
It may be a bit unfair of you to say that the articles that you read "can't be bothered" to explain something and are "too technical". It may just not be possible to give a reasonable arm-waving explanation. If it's too technical, then it may well be up to you to increase your knowledge untill the explanation is understandable to you. Why do you think that Scientific advances need very clever people to make them?
 

Khashishi

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Re: Polarization...?

Consider light as a wave. Vertically polarized light has an electric field waving up and down. Horizontally polarized light has an electric field waving left and right. Diagonally polarized light is some fraction of vertically polarized and some fraction of horizontally. Circularly polarized light is an electric field waving in a circle.

For a simple analogy, connect a rope to the wall. You can send waves down the rope by waving up and down. Or left and right. Or in a circular motion (either clockwise or counterclockwise. It's really simple.
 

sophiecentaur

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Re: Polarization...?

Consider light as a wave. Vertically polarized light has an electric field waving up and down. Horizontally polarized light has an electric field waving left and right. Diagonally polarized light is some fraction of vertically polarized and some fraction of horizontally. Circularly polarized light is an electric field waving in a circle.
Yes - a much more fruitful approach. Once you have sorted that out, you might go on to discuss photons - if you really feel that you have to. Where there's duality, however, is it essential to analyse something both ways? One of the ways always gives an answer easier than the other and an answer is an answer.:wink:

ps. I like the "waving" :smile:
 

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