When light impacts a surface, how does it know what direction to be polarized? I'd prefer a conceptual answer, there are randomly polarized photons impacting random molecules that can be randomly organized, and yet somehow only the light waves in the same plane are reflected. (Or the majority of reflected molecules are polarized, you can still SEE things, even with polarized glasses, so I'm not sure it's a totally exclusive reflection) In any case, why is it that polarization uniquely chooses the plane of the surface the light is coming from? I've read that it's the electrons freely moving in the plane, while the other orientations just get absorbed into heat, but I don't see why other orientations besides those moving parallel to the plane can't have free moving electrons.

  • $\begingroup$ Seems to be the same as your earlier question on the same topic, no? $\endgroup$ – dmckee Jun 27 '13 at 4:36
  • $\begingroup$ Someone had suggested posting a more detailed question, and also the only response I got was a Wikipedia link. I guess I could have put a bounty on it, but I thought it would be better to try to elaborate a little bit more-in the hopes of getting a more elaborate answer. $\endgroup$ – user24082 Jun 28 '13 at 6:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy