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.


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).


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




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