A Rotating Waveplate Polarization Analyzer

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This Demonstration lets you create any type of polarized light to see the intensity as the light passes through a polarization analyzer consisting of a rotating waveplate followed by a fixed linear polarizer. There is a constraint on the Stokes vector for partially or completely polarized light: ; if you select , , and that do not fulfill the constraint, an error message is shown. is set to be 1.

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The most common types of light and their Stokes vectors can be set as follows: horizontally polarized light: (1,0,0); vertically polarized light: (-1,0,0), 45° light: (0,1,0); -45° light (0,-1,0); right circularly polarized light (0,0,1); and left circularly polarized light (0,0,-1).

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Contributed by: Beth Schaefer and Edward Collett (March 2011)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


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