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Applied Electro-Optics by Louis Desmarais

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7 Polarization of Light

7.1 Polarization Involves Transverse Waves

In Chapter 3, we considered Maxwell’s equations for describing how an electromagnetic wave travels through space. This wave consists of electric and magnetic fields mutually perpendicular to each other and changing in intensity as the wave propagates through space. Looking at Figure 3.1 in Chapter 3, the amplitude of the field at each point can be represented by a vector from the z axis to a point on the curve of the electric or magnetic field. In Section 3.2, we considered the equation for the electric field for Figure 3.1 as:

E(z,t) = E0 sin (kz − ωt)

The electric field oscillates in the yz plane as shown by the E vector, and the vector always points in the y direction. The ...

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