Color and Polarization

Key Questions

  • Polarization is giving a wave a certain direction or orientation.

    When dealing with polarizing light, we can think of a light wave as a folded paper plane.

    It has a tip, a bottom fold, a left wing, and a right wing. You can point it any direction, but it will always have the same "shape"

    Light waves are very similar: they have electric fields in one direction, and magnetic fields in the other (like a cross or arrow).

    Normally, the light we get from the sun is pointed in random directions.
    When we polarize light, we make light point some direction
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    There's much more to the how, why, and what of polarization, but I hope this helped out! For further reading, check out the wikipedia page: Polarization of waves

  • Reflection. Polaroid (sun glasses), Dichroism (materials that absorb and polarize light), Birefringence (double refraction that causes 2 light beams to emerge from an incident light beam. the beams are polarized differently)