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What is unpolarized light?

  1. Dec 25, 2011 #1
    what is unpolarized light?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 25, 2011 #2


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    Gold Member

    Re: question of light

    Welcome to PF, Rojan. Polarization is a situation in which the waveforms of the EM field are similarly oriented. Normal light (or other EM) has random orientation. That's a lousy explanation, but I hope that it will suffice until someone more knowledgeable can take over.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2011
  4. Dec 25, 2011 #3
    Re: question of light

    Unpolarized light, and electromagnetic waves are light and are a transverse wave, is typicaly generated from a light source where the atoms and molecules changing energy levels act independently....randomly... light a light bulb or the sun.....and the light propagated in a given direction consists of independent wavetrains whose planes of vibration are randomly oriented perpendicurlarly to the direction of propagation....the random orientation of the plane waves produces symmetry about the the direction of propagation.

    Radio and radar waves, also electromagnetic waves, are not randomly generated...resulting from a surging dipole charge up and down.... and so are not symmetric...we say these kinds of waves are polarized.....such waves have preferred ...non symmetric....orientations of the electric and magnetic oscillations relative to the direction of propagation...

    Some good illustrations here on polarized light:


    And see here an illustration how polarized sunglasses work:


    But note that in the illustration, the light is completely blocked at one orientation....the image gets black...this tells us the light being projected is polarized since all light is blocked at that orientation.
  5. Dec 25, 2011 #4
    Re: question of light

    what is unpolarized light?
  6. Dec 25, 2011 #5


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    Re: question of light

    You asked this before and got two responses. Perhaps it would help if you told us why those responses were not sufficient.

    Also, in future, please start a new thread to ask a question- do not "hijack" someone else's thread.
  7. Dec 25, 2011 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    I've split this discussion into a new thread.
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