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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How can we interpret polarization and frequency when we are dealing with one single photon?

If polarization is interpreted as a pattern/direction of the electric-field in an electromagnetic wave and the frequency as the frequency of oscillation, how can we interpret polarization and ...
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809 views

Partially polarized light with jones vectors?

I have read that polarized light is treated by Jones vectors and that to treat partially polarized light you have to use Stokes vectors and mueller matrices. Nonetheless, the optics notes that my ...
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Why is the $S_{z} =0$ state forbidden for photons?

If photons are spin-1 bosons, then doesn't quantum mechanics imply that the allowed values for the z-component of spin (in units of $\hbar$) are -1, 0, and 1? Why then in practice do we only use the ...
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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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Why does it seem like a broken magnet's poles flip?

I just took a rare earth magnet out of an old hard drive. Lacking an appropriate screwdriver, force was used, and the magnet broke into two pieces; one about a quarter of the original size and one ...
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Counting degrees of freedom of gauge bosons

Gauge bosons are represented by $A_{\mu}$, where $\mu = 0,1,2,3$. So in general there are 4 degrees of freedom. But in reality, a photon (gauge boson) has two degrees of freedom (two polarization ...
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Interference of polarized light

Does polarized light interfere?
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Why does the electric field dominate in light?

I read a book on the wave property of light where the author mentioned that the electric field, instead of magnetic field, dominates the light property. I don't understand why. In Maxwell's theory, a ...
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Is true black possible?

Black is the absence of light because it absorbs light, but when we create black paint or black objects, light is always reflected, either in all directions in matte or smoothly in shiny black ...
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Three polarizers, 45° apart

If light is passed through two polarizing filters before arriving at a target, and both of the filters are oriented at 90° to each other, then no light will be received at the target. If a third ...
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Difference between spin and polarization of a photon

I understand how one associates the spin of a quantum particle, e.g. of a photon, with intrinsic angular momentum. And in electromagnetism I have always understood the polarization of an EM wave as ...
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If photons carry 1 spin unit, why does visible light seem to have no angular momentum?

Spin 1 silver atoms have a definite spin axis, e.g. up or down along an axis labeled X. This in turn means that they carry angular momentum in an overt, visible fashion. However, spin 1 photons do ...
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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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763 views

electric field of unpolarized light after reflect?

Reflection and transmission (Fresnel equation) of polarized light are treated in many optics or electromagnetism books. If $E_s$ and $E_p$ is incident electric field with s-polarization and ...
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What happens if you remove the polarization filter from a computer monitor?

Have a look at this youtube video (and some extra footage here). Here I will post a gif showing in short what it is about: It shows that if you remove the polarizing filter from a pc's monitor and ...
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What is the difference between the properties of Electron spin and Photon polarization/helicity?

What is the difference between a photon's polarization/helicity and an electrons spin half? I know that the photon is spin 1 but isn't its polarization analogous to spin half? This question stems ...
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If light is linearly polarized, does it have some spatial extent?

If light (a photon) is linearly polarized, say vertically, does it have some vertical spatial extent (perhaps in amplitude)?
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Circularly polarized light incident at Brewster's Angle

If a perfectly circularly polarized wave of light is incident on a dielectric medium (coming from air) at Brewster's Angle, what will the polarization state of the transmitted wave be? I am aware ...
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1answer
278 views

Viewing computer screen through 3D glasses, why the asymmetry?

I have 3D glasses made up of plastic. First case: When I hold front side of the 3D glasses (by this I mean that side on which light falls) in front of a computer screen, light coming from screen is ...
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2answers
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What is a photon's speed inside a dieletric?

We know that EM waves are slowed down in a dielectric. But at what speed does the photons that make up the wave travel? Do they always travel at the speed $c$, but colliding/being absorbed and ...
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Polarization of light upon reflection

I was wondering (since I've looked pretty hard and haven't been able to find anything)- are there any models that explain the polarization of light upon reflection? Everywhere I've looked I've seen ...
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Are these sunglass lenses linearly polarized or what?

This is a difficult question to phrase, so please bear with me. I found some cheap sunglasses and pulled out the plastic lenses which are polarized. For clarity, I have labeled them as lens-1 and -2 ...
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406 views

What do the names “E mode” and “B mode” mean? Where do they come from?

This has been bugging me a bit since the BICEP announcement, but if there are any resources that answer my question in a simple way, they've been buried in a slew of over-technical or over-popularized ...
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Photons with half integer angular momentum - what's happening?

I have just read this article - what is happening? Analysing these beams within the theory of quantum mechanics they predicted that the angular momentum of the photon would be half-integer, and ...
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what happens inside linear polarizer sheet (at microscopic level) when unpolarized light falls on it?

(1) What happens at microscopic level when unpolarized light falls on a linear polarizer sheet ? i.e. Due to what thing inside polarizer sheet, only those EM waves are passed whose plane of vibration ...
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3D glasses giving the opposite effect to that expected

I have just finished watching the new Star Wars movie (The Force Awakens), and during the end credits, text is shown upon a background of stars. Wearing the 3D glasses, I noticed that the text appears ...
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105 views

What is polarisation, spin, helicity, chirality and parity?

Polarisation, spin, helicity, chirality and parity keep confusing me. They seem to be related, but exactly how they are related is unclear to me. Can someone maybe give a short overview about what ...
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Complex numbers in optics

I have recently studied optics. But I feel having missed something important: how can amplitudes of light waves be complex numbers?
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Half wave plate and angular momentum

Given: A half wave plate freely floating in space. Circularly polarized light, falling perpendicularly to it. The plate changes polarisation of the beam to the opposite one. Therefore it ...
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1answer
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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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2answers
542 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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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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2answers
250 views

Why are results of Bell's experiments considered to “break realism”?

Related to my previous question (Why would classical correlation in Bell's experiment be a linear function of angle?), as a newbie in quantum mechanics, I am also unable to find the reason to why ...
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1answer
50 views

Unpolarized wave, $\Delta\varphi =\Delta \varphi(t)$?

I have seen a unpolarized wave defined in a number of places (e.g. here) as a wave such that: \begin{align} E_x&=E_0 \cos(kz-\omega t) \\ E_y&=E_0 \cos(kz-\omega t+\varphi) \end{align} Where ...
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Dielectric field in a homogenous electric field

I'm working through my workbook right now and currently am stuck on the chapter about dielectrics. The term $\vec{E}=\frac{3}{\epsilon_r +2}\vec{E_0}$ was introduced without a proper proof. Instead ...
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1answer
148 views

Spin FET Transistor

Spin FET Transistor. When a gate voltage is applied to a current of spin polarized electrons, a spin precession will occur. If this spin precession is enough to make the bulk electron spin ...
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Why can't my eye see itself in the mirror through polarizing 3D-glasses?

I found a pair of polarizing "3D glasses" lying around, and tried to look at myself in the mirror while wearing them. To my utter confusion, when closing the left eye and only looking through the ...
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What causes polarised materials to change colour under stress?

Our physics teacher showed the class a really interesting demonstration. He used two polarised filters in opposite orientations, then he took some antistatic tape and stretched it under the two ...
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Why is reflected light polarised?

Why is reflected light polarised? I have learnt about Brewster's angle, and how at a particular angle all light reflected is polarised, but do not understand why. Is this something that could be ...
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3answers
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Is wearing 3D glasses from the cinema as sunglasses hurtful to the eyes?

I heard a few times that using them as sunglasses is hurting the eye since UV light is not filtered, but the pupil is wider than it would be w/o wearing them because the visible light is dimmed. I ...
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Is a single photon always circularly polarized?

While trying to understand polarization in quantum field theory, I wondered how a single photon could go through a linear polarizer. I found a paper which asked "Is a single photon always circularly ...
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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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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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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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342 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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1answer
176 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 ...
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1answer
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Polarization in Lasers and Liquid Crystal Displays

When we talk about Polarization in Lasers we mean placement of the crystal at Brewster angle to block the s-polarization and only the p-polarization will survive. How do we compare the term ...
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1answer
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Converting Stokes Parameters to Jones Vector

How do you convert a Stokes vector into a Jones vector? I am only concerned about fully polarised light, and I need to convert the Stokes parameters (or the azimuth and ellipticity angles) as measured ...
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2answers
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What polarizes a rainbow?

What polarizes the light from a rainbow. I already did some search and couldn't get a clear answer. All I could find was the light is polarized on the direction light is entering. What happens to the ...
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How to treat partially polarized light with Jones vectors?

I have to calculate the degree of s-polarization (perpendicular) of a transmitted unpolarised light ray when it goes through a glass plate ($n=1.5$) at Brewster's angle (Brewster's window). ...