Polarization characterizes the oscillations in time the electromagnetic field is doing in the plane perpendicular to the propagation direction of a wave

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Inflation Scale via CMB Polarization

COBE, WMAP, and now PLANCK, have or are in the process of measuring anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background. WMAP has dectected E-mode polarization from electron Thomson scattering, but not B-...
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487 views

Are two polarization states of light coherent?

Let's consider a situation: we have distant point source of unpolarized light in certain non-zero range of wavelengths (it's polychromatic). Let's divide this light into 2 beams depending on ...
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Wheeler-Feynman theory, QED without fields, vacuum polarization

Initially Wheeler and Feynman postulated that, the electromagnetic field is just a set of bookkeeping variables required in a Hamiltonian description. This is very neat because makes the point of ...
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gauge invariance of the Feynman amplitudes

When we calculate the photon polarization sums over amplitudes, $$X=\sum\limits_{r=1}^{2}|\mathcal M_r|^2=\mathcal M_\alpha\mathcal M_\beta^*\sum\limits_{r=1}^{2}\epsilon_r^\alpha\epsilon_r^\beta$$ ...
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Light Polarizer and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

I have stumped myself with a thought experiment of my own devising. Suppose I take a beam of wholly depolarised, but otherwise plane wave light. Its von Neumann entropy per photon is $\log(2)$ nats ...
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Intensity of unpolarized light through polarizer

When unpolarized light is polarized with two polarizers, the intensity becomes $I=I_ocos^2(θ)$ (Malus's law). But when unpolarized light is polarized with only one polarizer, the intensity is reduced ...
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Why photon only have helicity other than spin? [duplicate]

When learning angular momentum in quantum mechanics, a spin 1 particle have 3 states. Then I saw from sakurai's modern quantum mechanics that photon's two polarization are just like spins, but with ...
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710 views

Electromagnetic field of unpolarized light

I need help in finding an expression for the instantaneous electric and magnetic field of unpolarized light in order to write down and evaluate the time-averaged norm of the Poynting vector (i.e. the ...
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How comes unpolarized light do not undergo destructive interference?

As far as I know, unpolarized light is defined as light which as no clear axis of polarization, but electric field vectors in all directions. However, I also know that electric fields can be ...
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Jones vector and matrices

With Jones vectors and matrices one can describe the change in polarization of a EM wave. What is the convention of the reference coordinate system; Is it fixed or does it change whenever the ...
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626 views

3D movie glasses making white light look red and blue

While waiting for a 3D movie to start, I was playing with the glasses they give you. I understand each lens has different polarized filters, so the left and right superimposed images on the screen go ...
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490 views

Question about the wave nature of light

I quote from my textbook, " Consider two vertical slits S1 and S2 placed parallel to each other, and a string is passed through them. The end B is fixed and A is given jerks perpendicular to its ...
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What do the BICEP2 results mean for string gas cosmology and the ekpyrotic universe?

The imprint of gravitational waves created shortly after the big bang may offer direct evidence for inflation theory, according to a discovery by the BICEP2 experiment at the South Pole and released ...
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Impossible microwave interference?

I was doing a microwave experiment with the following set up: there is a Gunn diode which emmits microwave radiation and a receiver (both work with polarised light). The strange thing is that when ...
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225 views

What is fundamentally happening that causes light to change its orientation when repeatedly polarized?

When light is passed through two polarizers successively, its intensity and orientation afterwards depends on the angle between the polarizers and the orientation of the most recent polarizer, ...
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352 views

Difference in perception of unpolarized and polarized light

What is the difference in perception of polarized light and unpolarized light? What difference does polarized light cause to our eyes?
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380 views

How many photons does it take to measure a linear polarization?

A star emits perfectly (100%) linearly polarized light at an arbitrary angle. How many photons must you detect to measure this angle to a precision of n binary digits? (with greater than 50% ...
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653 views

How does the Ocean polarize light?

I know that the light gets polarized in the plane of the ocean, but why is that? It seems to me that the molecules are free to be in any position or location, so why is it that the 'vertical' ...
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189 views

Polarization of Light

How do materials polarize light? I know that they polarize light in the same plane, but light has two perpendicular directions with the two fields, so which direction is reflected and why? And if ...
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557 views

Doubts concerning Wigner's classification

Wigner classified particles in function of the eigenvalues of $P_\mu P^\mu$ and $W_\mu W^\mu$. Then, it can be proved that for massless particles spin values can be only $\pm s_{max}$. But for a ...
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805 views

Are gravitational waves transverse or longitudinal waves, or do they have unique/unknown properties? [duplicate]

Gravitational waves propagate through a medium of space-time. Are they traverse waves or longitudinal waves? Or do they propagate without oscillating?
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Spatial and polarizing beam splitters in a graphical calculus

Suppose I have four wires, and I tensor product them together $A \otimes B \otimes C \otimes D$ I pass $A \otimes B$ through a spatial beam splitter $Spl: A \otimes B \rightarrow A^\prime \otimes ...
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693 views

Polarization rotation: Jones Matrix that maps Horizontal to right circular

I am looking at the Poincaré sphere and I am trying to compute a Jones matrix for a particular rotation. Specifically, I would like it to perform the following maps: $O :|H \rangle \rightarrow |R \...
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190 views

Reflected optical rotation of polarised light

Assume polarised light travels through an optically active medium (e.g. water with lots of sugar) with the specific angle $\alpha_s$ of depth $d$ at which end it is reflected (so in total it travels $...
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335 views

What causes these rainbow effects using a polarizing filter on an airplane?

I know that light reflected from a surface at 45° is polarized and that for a similar reason skylight arriving from a direction orthogonal to the sun is polarized too. Photographers make use of this ...
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655 views

light linear polarization and photon spin

After reading about light polarization I understood, that if light is polarized: circularly left then the spin of each photon is parallel to the velocity circularly right then the spin of each ...
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263 views

Polarization vectors in scattering amplitudes

The annihilation ($e^+ e^-\rightarrow 2\gamma$) diagrams are I'm just wondering if the amplitudes should be $$(-ie)^2\left[\bar v(p_2)\gamma^b\epsilon_b^*\frac{-i(-(\gamma^\mu p_{1\mu}-\gamma^\nu ...
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Is my simulation result for unpolarized light correct?

This is a follow-up of this question. After that, I picked up some knowledge of FDTD (an algorithm for solving Maxwell's equations) and simulated following scene: Pic 1 As the picture shows, a ...
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double slit experiment with two opposite quarter waveplates

Consider the usual double slit experiment involving laser and a double slit and a screen. Now place in front of the left slit a quarter waveplate (let's call it QWP1) that changes a certain linear ...
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Monochromatic wave

If we have an EM wave like this one: $$E=\begin{pmatrix}1\\i\\0\end{pmatrix}e^{-i(\omega t-kz)}$$ The wave has clearly only one frequency $\omega$, but is it monochromatic? My doubt is that it's ...
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257 views

Filter out polarized light

Unpolarized light enters the polarizer and gets polarized at one certain angle. If we place an analyzer behind the polarizer and align them, we observe that all light is transmitted. If we rotate the ...
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Effect of temperature on optical rotation of sugar solution

How does temperature affect the specific optical rotation of sugar solution at constant concentration and why? If, for example, the temperature is increased, will the optical rotation for a given path ...
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63 views

Charge in a layered ball

A ball (radius $R$) has three layers. For $0<r<a$ it is a conductor with free charge $+Q$. For $a<r<b$ it is a linear dielectric $\epsilon$ with free charge embedded in it with density $\...
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Energy absorbed in Polarization of light

A polarizer absorbs all light that vibrates in a particular direction. Where does the energy absorbed by the "chain molecules" of the polarizer go? Does it change the structure of the molecules? Is ...
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3D glasses and reflection/polarisation [duplicate]

Hi all, Tonight I'm going to see a 3D film so I thought I'd check whether I had any old 3D glasses around the house. Found a pair of "RealD" glasses. Anyhow, I assume that the glasses use some kind ...
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3D movie optics mathematics

I get the idea that we use two polarized light sources and a parallax rendered film such that the objects seem to resemble true parallax in our eyes once it passes through the polarized glasses, but I'...
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How does one calculate the quantum propagator for a massless photon

So I want to calculate the quantum massless photon propagator. To do this, I write $$ A_\mu(x) = \sum\limits_{i=1}^2 \int \frac{d^3p}{(2\pi)^3} \frac{1}{\sqrt{2\omega_p}} \left( \epsilon_\mu^i (p) a_{...
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Polarization of sound

Sound can't be polarized because the vibration of such type can't be polarized i.e, it can't be limited or controlled by any barriers and so polarization is not possible in them. This is what my ...
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How come these 3d glasses don't show a difference between horizontal and vertical?

I thought that modern 3d glasses work by having one lens filter horizontally polarized light, and the other filter vertically polarized light. However, I found this pair of 3d glasses at my parents' ...
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324 views

When polarized light hits a polarizer, what happens to the polarization which is not transmitted?

It is typically said that in polarization of light only those waves can pass through a polaroid which has a plane of vibration parallel to the axis of polaroid. My question is: what happens to the ...
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Can circular polarized light be cancelled?

I can cancel the light output from an LED screen by placing a linear polarizer at 90 degrees from the linear polarizer built into the LED display. OLED displays use circular polarizers instead of ...
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Why is there sometimes an additional term in the orthogonality relations for the polarization vectors?

When considering the polarization vectors of a massive spin-1 field, like an $A_\mu$ with Lagrangian density $$ \tag{A} \mathscr{L} = - \frac{1}{4}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu} + \frac{1}{2}M^2 A_\mu A^\mu,$$ ...
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103 views

Can polarization effect the coherence length?

I'm taking an optics lab in which I'm required to construct an interferometer, and measure the wavelength of a laser, and the coherence length of the light emitted from a candle fire. Now, I've been ...
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Why do polarized sunglasses remove (most) reflections on car windows?

Why do polarized sunglasses remove (most) reflections on car windows? I know that both lenses of polarized sunglasses are polarized in the same direction and I can see that reflections in my own ...
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What are the polarization states of the photons in a polarized and unpolarized light?

The photons are completely polarized, i.e their polarization states can be expressed as $a|R\rangle+b|L\rangle$, where $|R\rangle$ and $|L\rangle$ are two helicity eigenstates of the photon. For ...
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What is the effect of polarization on diffraction by a narrow slit?

Consider the well known demonstration of diffraction by a narrowing slit. (See for example the demonstration at the 30 minute mark of this lecture at MIT by Walter Lewin) It is my (possibly mistaken) ...
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166 views

How to count the number of modes/polarizations of a Gaussian field theory?

A Gaussian (free) field theory is described by a quadratic action of the field, e.g. $S=\int\psi^\dagger K\psi$ (or $S=\frac{1}{2}\int\phi^\intercal K\phi$ for real fields). Usually one just need to ...
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Polarisation of light is a wave concept or applicable to photons as well?

I have a very fundamental question. We explain polarisation of light assuming wave nature of light. Is it still valid if we assume light as photons? Or in other words, polarisation is a wave concept ...
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Can unpolarized light be created from polarized light?

I have a question regarding this topic. According Stokes Parameters theory, unpolarized light could be described as a superposition of two independent beams of equal intensity and orthogonal ...
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179 views

How does one calculate the polarization state of random light after total internal reflection

How does one calculate the polarization state of random light after having been totally reflected by a single dielectric interface? Please consider pure specular reflexions from a plane interface ...