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I What does polarization actually mean?

  1. Feb 22, 2017 #1
    What is polarization actually mean? is it cancel out one of the EM wave component? that means, is it dismiss the magnetic field from EM wave? if so, how the polarized light propagate without magnetic field?
    Please clear this matter...
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2017 #2


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    A light wave is said to be polarized when its electric or magnetic field vector traces certain well-defined pattern during its propagation.
    No, in general you cannot have a fluctuating electric field without coexistence of a magnetic field.
  4. Feb 22, 2017 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    In an electromagnetic wave, the electric field vector oscillates in one plane, and the magnetic field vector oscillates in a perpendicular plane.

    The polarization axis of a linear polarizer is defined (by convention) with respect to the direction of oscillation of the electric field. The polarizer acts similarly on the magnetic field, but in a perpendicular direction. After light passes through a linear polarizer, its electric field oscillates parallel to the polarization axis, and its magnetic field oscillates perpendicular to the polarization axis.
  5. Feb 22, 2017 #4
    thanks for helping
  6. Feb 22, 2017 #5


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    You can also have elliptically polarized light. As the wave passes by a point, the electric field direction will move around in an ellipse.
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