So I searched around a bit on SE for an answer to this question, didn't find exactly what I was looking for.
When it comes to polarization of E-M waves (and subsequently, light), does it suffice to say the following:
- E-M waves have a particular direction of propagation, and we know that the oscillating electric and magnetic fields must both be perpendicular to the direction of travel
- I visualize this by holding out my right hand with my fingers straight and my thumb perpendicular
- The direction I "push" with my palm is the direction of wave travel and my fingers represent the electric field and my thumb the magnetic field
Under this premise, could I simply use my left hand to represent the other way this works, ie. polarization? My logic is that the electric field and magnetic field are still both perpendicular to the wave travel direction but now are "flipped". Is this an overly simplified approach?
(Context: Deriving Planck's formula and there's a factor of two in determining number of modes for a 3D E-M wave in a cavity with perfectly reflective walls, held in thermoequilibrium- the factor of 2 supposedly comes from polarization)