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 it radiated as heat? Is it reflected back to the medium; if so, why is it said that they "absorb" light?

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    $\begingroup$ I guess that a polarizer just reflects the light, but there may be types that absorb it. +1 for a question that I never thought of. $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2015 at 20:23
  • $\begingroup$ @GyroGearloose Thanks. I feel that the question is not much about physics though. $\endgroup$
    – Quark
    Dec 30, 2015 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ Very few polarizers reflect light. your everyday sunglasses absorb light, leading to extremely minor heating. However, it is not "said that.. absorb light" . What is said is that only one polarization is transmitted. $\endgroup$ Dec 30, 2015 at 20:45
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    $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft If I know the pass-axis of my sunglasses, it's area and the radiation pressure of sunlight , then I should be able to calculate heat generated, right? $\endgroup$
    – Quark
    Dec 30, 2015 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ hot polarizers are common. In the simplest setting, they absorb 50% of the light. Polarizers may work for years, it seems unlikely that their structure changes with the heat $\endgroup$
    – user46925
    Jan 5, 2016 at 8:16


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