10

One would think that those molecules would have to possess some degree of common alignment in order to produce light that possesses nonrandom polarization. Molecules are quantum mechanical entities and light interacting with individual molecules should be thought of in photons. Nevertheless, the classical elecromagnetic light with its description by the ...


6

The root cause is that you see no radiation from an oscillating electric dipole when looking along the axis of oscillation. Unpolarized light can be considered an equal mixture of two perpendicular linear polarisation states (with random phases). Such light causes electric dipoles in the atmosphere (i.e. molecules) to oscillate in those two perpendicular ...


5

I think your question is really based on isotropy and anisotropy: How can an isotropic medium produce an anisotropc effect? The answer is that the direction of the sunlight provides a preferred direction. Given the fact that the atmosphere is isotropic, polarization (if it exists) of scattered sunlight must have radial symmetry around the axis defined by ...


5

Light passing through a fluid can be polarized for two reasons. We call this interaction, where different polarizations of light scatter differently "birefringence." First, if the components of the fluid have some preferred direction, then the light will be polarized in the corresponding orientation (e.g. chiral molecules). Second, if the fluid ...


4

You are right. A QWP is designed for a particular wavelength. The phase shift changes linearly with frequency. See Waveplate in Wikipedia. For photography, this doesn't matter much. Two polarizers are typically used. A linear polarizer can be adjusted to darken the sky and manage reflections, because a component of light from these sources is linearly ...


1

A typical circular polarizer consists of two layers: a linear polarizer with, say, a vertical orientation; and a birefringent layer whose axis is tilted at 45 degrees. The linear polarizer absorbs the horizontally polarized components of incident light and transmits the vertically polarized components; then the birefringent layer converts the vertically ...


1

Yes, diffraction can lead to polarization effects. However, this requires moving out of the regime of scalar optics. Scalar optics is the regime when you can neglect the polarization of light and only treat its spatial complex amplitude. Scalar optics can break down when the paraxial limit breaks down. This happens around when you introduce spatial features ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible