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What Is Polarization In Physics

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What Is Polarization In Light

Polarization of light, linear and circular | Light waves | Physics | Khan Academy

Polarization of light is a property that applies to turning waves that shows the geometrical blooming of the oscillations. In a turning wave, the way of the oscillation is ninety degrees of the motion of the wave. Plane polarized light has the two waves in which the way of vibration is similar for all waves.

Polarization In Wave Propagation

In a vacuum, the components of the electric field propagate at the speed of light, so that the phase of the wave varies in space and time while the polarization state does not. That is, the electric field vector e of a plane wave in the +z direction follows:


t } . When an electromagnetic wave interacts with matter, its propagation is altered according to the material’s index of refraction. When the real or imaginary part of that refractive index is dependent on the polarization state of a wave, properties known as birefringence and polarization dichroism respectively, then the polarization state of a wave will generally be altered.

In such media, an electromagnetic wave with any given state of polarization may be decomposed into two orthogonally polarized components that encounter different propagation constants. The effect of propagation over a given path on those two components is most easily characterized in the form of a complex 2Ã2 transformation matrix J known as a Jones matrix:

e . =\mathbf \mathbf .}

The Jones matrix due to passage through a transparent material is dependent on the propagation distance as well as the birefringence. The birefringence will generally be dispersive, that is, it will vary as a function of optical frequency . In the case of non-birefringent materials, however, the 2Ã2 Jones matrix is the identity matrix , implying no change in polarization during propagation.

J 1 , =\mathbf g_& 0\\0& g_\end}\mathbf ^,}


Polarization By A Polaroid Filter

These Polaroid filters are made of a special material that is capable of blocking one of the two planes of vibration of, electromagnetic waves that are filtered out one-half of the vibrations upon the transmission of the light through the filter. When unpolarized light is transmitted through a Polaroid filter, it emerges with one-half the intensity and with vibrations in a single plane, as polarized light.

These filters are able to polarize light because of the chemical composition of the filter material. The filter has long-chain molecules that are aligned within the filter in the same direction. A Polaroid filter with its long-chain molecules aligned horizontally will have a polarization axis aligned vertically.

Such a filter blocks all horizontal vibrations and allows only the vertically will have a polarization axis aligned horizontally it blocks all vertical vibrations and allows only the horizontal vibrations to be transmitted.

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What Increases Polarizability

Generally, polarizability increases as the volume occupied by electrons increases. In atoms, this occurs because larger atoms have more loosely held electrons in contrast to smaller atoms with tightly bound electrons. On rows of the periodic table, polarizability therefore decreases from left to right.

Can All Waves Be Polarized

Mathematical Description Of Polarization

Only transverse waves can be plane polarised because their vibration is perpendicular to the direction of energy travel you can therefore have this vibration at different orientations. Longitudinal waves cannot be plane polarised because the direction of vibration and direction of propagation are the same.

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What Is Polarization In Chemistry Class 11

Polarization. Polarization. Ionic bond is formed by transfer of electrons .As a result, the cation and anion are formed .So, cation formed distort the shape of electron cloud of anion as shown in figure: Distortion of electron cloud of the negatively charged ion by the positively charged ion is called Polarization.

Radio Transmission And Reception

All radio antennas used for transmitting or receiving are intrinsically polarized. They transmit in a particular polarization, being totally insensitive to the opposite polarization in certain cases that polarization is a function of direction. Most antennas are nominally linearly polarized, but elliptical and circular polarization is a possibility. As is the convention in optics, the “polarization” of a radio wave is understood to refer to the polarization of its electric field, with the magnetic field being at a 90 degree rotation with respect to it for a linearly polarized wave.

Polarization is important in radio communications because, for instance, if one attempts to use a horizontally polarized antenna to receive a vertically polarized transmission, the signal strength will be substantially reduced . This principle is used in satellite television in order to double the channel capacity over a fixed frequency band. The same frequency channel can be used for two signals broadcast in opposite polarizations. By adjusting the receiving antenna for one or the other polarization, either signal can be selected without interference from the other.

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Which Waves Can Be Polarized

  • Only transverse waves can be polarised.
  • Polarisation of light wave is possible only because they can oscillate in more than one orientation because they are transverse in Nature.
  • It has no dependence on wavelength and frequencies.
  • Hence option D is the right answer.

Atomic Explanation Of Polarizing Filters

Polarisation of Waves – A Level Physics

Polarizing filters have a polarization axis that acts as a slit.This slit passes EM waves that have anelectric field parallel to the axis. This is accomplished with longmolecules aligned perpendicular to the axis, as shown in Figure\.

Figure \ illustrates how the component of theelectric field parallel to the long molecules is absorbed. An EMwave is composed of oscillating electric and magnetic fields. Theelectric field is strong compared with the magnetic field and ismore effective in exerting force on charges in the molecules. Themost affected charged particles are the electrons, since electronmasses are small. If an electron is forced to oscillate, it canabsorb energy from the EM wave. This reduces the field in the waveand, hence, reduces its intensity. In long molecules, electrons canmore easily oscillate parallel to the molecule than in theperpendicular direction. The electrons are bound to the moleculeand are more restricted in their movement perpendicular to themolecule. Thus, the electrons can absorb EM waves that have acomponent of their electric field parallel to the molecule. Theelectrons are much less responsive to electric fields perpendicularto the molecule and allow these fields to pass. Thus, the axis ofthe polarizing filter is perpendicular to the length of themolecule.

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What Is Polarization In Physics Simple Terms

What is polarization in physics simple terms? Polarization, in Physics, is defined as a phenomenon caused due to the wave nature of electromagnetic radiation. Sunlight travels through the vacuum to reach the Earth, which is an example of an electromagnetic wave.

What is polarization of waves in physics? Polarization is the attribute that wave oscillations have a definite direction relative to the direction of propagation of the wave. EM waves are transverse waves that may be polarized. The direction of polarization is defined to be the direction parallel to the electric field of the EM wave.

How does polarization work physics? Polarization also occurs when light is scattered while traveling through a medium. When light strikes the atoms of a material, it will often set the electrons of those atoms into vibration. The vibrating electrons then produce their own electromagnetic wave that is radiated outward in all directions.

What is polarization in physics electrons? Polarization occurs when an electric field distorts the negative cloud of electrons around positive atomic nuclei in a direction opposite the field. This slight separation of charge makes one side of the atom somewhat positive and the opposite side somewhat negative.

Example 2 Calculating Polarization By Reflection

  • At what angle will light traveling in air be completely polarized horizontally when reflected from water?
  • Strategy

    All we need to solve these problems are the indices of refraction. Air has n1 = 1.00, water has n2 = 1.333, and crown glass has n2=1.520. The equation \tan\theta_}=\frac\\ can be directly applied to find b in each case.

    Solution for Part 1

    Putting the known quantities into the equation

    \tan\theta_}=\frac\\ gives \tan\theta_}=\frac=\frac=1.333\\.

    Solving for the angle b yields

    b = tan1 1.333 = 53.1º.

    Solution for Part 2

    Similarly, for crown glass and air,



    b = tan1 1.52 = 56.7º.


    Light reflected at these angles could be completely blocked by a good polarizing filter held with its axis vertical. Brewsters angle for water and air are similar to those for glass and air, so that sunglasses are equally effective for light reflected from either water or glass under similar circumstances. Light not reflected is refracted into these media. So at an incident angle equal to Brewsters angle, the refracted light will be slightly polarized vertically. It will not be completely polarized vertically, because only a small fraction of the incident light is reflected, and so a significant amount of horizontally polarized light is refracted.

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    Liquid Crystals And Other Polarization Effects In Materials

    While you are undoubtedly aware of liquid crystal displays found in watches, calculators, computer screens, cellphones, flat screen televisions, and other myriad places, you may not be aware that they are based on polarization. Liquid crystals are so named because their molecules can be aligned even though they are in a liquid. Liquid crystals have the property that they can rotate the polarization of light passing through them by 90º. Furthermore, this property can be turned off by the application of a voltage, as illustrated in Figure 12. It is possible to manipulate this characteristic quickly and in small well-defined regions to create the contrast patterns we see in so many LCD devices.

    In flat screen LCD televisions, there is a large light at the back of the TV. The light travels to the front screen through millions of tiny units called pixels . One of these is shown in Figure 12 and . Each unit has three cells, with red, blue, or green filters, each controlled independently. When the voltage across a liquid crystal is switched off, the liquid crystal passes the light through the particular filter. One can vary the picture contrast by varying the strength of the voltage applied to the liquid crystal.

    Figure 13. Optical activity is the ability of some substances to rotate the plane of polarization of light passing through them. The rotation is detected with a polarizing filter or analyzer.

    S Used In The Polarisation Of Light

    Polarization of Light

    There are a few different ways for polarising light:

    Polarisation by Polaroids

    We can observe that there is a plane of vibration parallel to the plane in the diagram below. There is also a vibration plane that is perpendicular to the plane. The first picture is one that is not polarised. The second picture is polarised, meaning it is perpendicular or parallel to the first. So lets start with polaroids to understand polarisation.

    Polaroids are polarising materials made up of molecules that are oriented in a specific direction. A pass axis exists on every Polaroid. Only the pass axis will enable light to flow through. Both the horizontal and vertical pass axes can exist on a polaroid. The way light passes through it is determined by these. When the light that is not polarised travels through a polaroid, it becomes polarised.

    Polarization by Scattering

    When light strikes a molecule or an atom, the light energy is absorbed and re-emitted in multiple directions. Polarisation causes this scattering. Furthermore, the emitted light travels in many directions.

    When unpolarised light is incident on a particle, we obtain dispersed light. As a result, when unpolarised light travels through a molecule, the light is polarised in the direction perpendicular to the incident ray. As a result, light polarisation occurs in this direction.

    Polarisation by Reflection and Refraction

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    Example Of Optical Rotation:

    Q: A sugar solution in a tube of length 2.0 dm produces optical rotation of 12°. Then, the sugar solution to one half of its initial concentration. If the dilute solute solution is contained in another tube of length 3.0 dm, the optical rotation produced by it will be

    A: Given

    \ when l = 2 dm and concentration c

    Now the concentration is c/2 and l = 3 dm

    Polarization Of Scattered Light

    Gas and water molecules in the atmosphere scatter light from the sun in all directions, an effect that is responsible for blue skies, white clouds, red sunsets, and a phenomenon termed atmospheric polarization. The amount of light scattered depends upon the size of the molecules and the wavelength of light, as demonstrated by Lord Rayleigh in 1871. Longer wavelengths, such as red, orange, and yellow, are not scattered as effectively as are the shorter wavelengths, such as violet and blue.

    Figure 7 – Polarization of Scattered Sunlight

    Atmospheric polarization is a direct result of the Rayleigh scattering of sunlight by gas molecules in the atmosphere. Upon impact between a photon from the sun and a gas molecule, the electric field from the photon induces a vibration and subsequent re-radiation of polarized light from the molecule . The radiated light is scattered at right angles to the direction of sunlight propagation, and is polarized either vertically or horizontally, depending upon the direction of scatter. A majority of the polarized light impacting the Earth is polarized horizontally , a fact that can be confirmed by viewing the sky through a Polaroid filter.

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    How Do Transverse Waves Show Polarization

    A transverse wave, as per the above image, vibrates up and down perpendicular to the wave propagation direction.

    • Since there are three dimensions, two directions perpendicular to the propagation direction can be observed.
    • Hence, if the wave is propagating in the Z direction, then the wave can be seen to oscillate in the X or Y direction, or a combination of them in overlay directions.
    • Thus, the shear wave consists of two polarizations, each for either direction of propagation.
    • If you have a polarized light-sensitive medium , you can simply detect the polarized light.
    • For instance, assume two polarisations.
    • One aligned to the X-axis, followed by rotating the other.
    • It can be seen that the light intensity is cos2 .

    Depending on the motion of transverse and longitudinal waves, there are three types of polarization:

    • Linear polarization
    • Elliptical polarization

    Angular Momentum Using Circular Polarization

    Polarisation of Waves | A-level Physics | OCR, AQA, Edexcel

    It is well known that electromagnetic radiation carries a certain linear momentum in the direction of propagation. In addition, however, light carries a certain angular momentum if it is circularly polarized . In comparison with lower frequencies such as microwaves, the amount of angular momentum in light, even of pure circular polarization, compared to the same wave’s linear momentum is very small and difficult to even measure. However it was utilized in an experiment to achieve speeds of up to 600 million revolutions per minute.

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    The Electric Vector Of Light

    In this chapter we shall consider those phenomena which depend on thefact that the electric field that describes the light is a vector. Inprevious chapters we have not been concerned with the direction ofoscillation of the electric field, except to note that the electricvector lies in a plane perpendicular to the direction ofpropagation. The particular direction in this plane has not concernedus. We now consider those phenomena whose central feature is theparticular direction of oscillation of the electric field.

    In ideally monochromatic light, the electric field must oscillate at adefinite frequency, but since the $x$-component and the $y$-componentcan oscillate independently at a definite frequency, we must firstconsider the resultant effect produced by superposing two independentoscillations at right angles to each other. What kind of electricfield is made up of an $x$-component and a $y$-component whichoscillate at the same frequency? If one adds to an $x$-vibration acertain amount of $y$-vibration at the same phase, the result is avibration in a new direction in the $xy$-plane. Figure 331illustrates the superposition of different amplitudes for the$x$-vibration and the $y$-vibration. But the resultants shown inFig. 331 are not the only possibilities in all of thesecases we have assumed that the $x$-vibration and the $y$-vibration arein phase, but it does not have to be that way. It could be thatthe $x$-vibration and the $y$-vibration are out of phase.

    What Affects Polarizability

    Molecular orientation, atomic radii, and electron density are the main three factors that influence the Polarizability in the following way: · As the number of electrons increases, the control on distribution of charge by the nuclear charges becomes less, and thus the Polarizability of atom increased.

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    How Does Polarisation Work

    Polarized lenses mitigate glare by using a chemical film either applied to or embedded in the lenses. The chemical filter on polarized sunglasses removes glare by absorbing the incoming horizontal light, while still allowing vertical light. What we perceived as glare is usually reflected horizontal light.

    Reducing Reflective Hot Spots & Glare


    In Figure 5, a linear polarizer was placed in front of the lens in a machine vision system to remove obfuscating glare such that an electronic chip could be clearly seen. The left image shows randomly polarized light scattering off of the many glass surfaces between the object and the camera sensor. Much of the chip is obscured by Fresnel reflection of the unpolarized light. The image on the right shows the chip without glare obscuring any of the object details, allowing the chip to be viewed, analyzed, and measured without obstruction.

    Figure 5: A polarizer is placed in front of the lens of a machine vision camera, reducing the stray light coming from a reflective surface between the lens and electronic chip.

    The same phenomenon can be seen in the Figure 6. In the left image , unpolarized light from the sun is interacting with the windows of the Edmund Optics building and most of this light is reflecting off the windows. In the right image, a polarizing filter has been applied such that the reflected light, rich in one polarization type, is being blocked from the camera sensor and the photographer, using the other polarization type, can see into the building more easily.

    Figure 6: A polarizer is placed in front of the lens of a DSLR camera, reducing the glare coming from the partially reflective surface of the leaves on the vegetation.

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