What is the difference between linear and plane polarization?


1 Answer 1


I don't think there's any difference. Linear polarization is the more modern and, in my view, better term.

The idea is that in a linearly polarised wave, if we represent the displacement vector at a point in the path of the wave by an arrow, then the arrow tip oscillates back and forth along a straight line. [For circularly polarised light, the tip of the displacement arrow goes round and round a circular path.]

The term 'Plane polarised' probably comes from a linearly (!) polarised transverse wave in a rope viewed along the rope, so that the displacements all lie in one plane (a plane containing the rope itself). This is fine, but we don't call a circularly polarised wave 'cylindrically polarised' or 'helically polarised' do we?


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.