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Photonic Signals and Systems: An Introduction by Nabeel Riza

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CHAPTER 3Electromagnetic Waves, Light, and Polarization

Electromagnetic Waves and Polarization

Electromagnetic (EM) waves exhibit the special property of polarization. In general, polarization refers to the vector direction of the time and space oscillating electric field in the EM wave. For light waves, the vector direction of the electric field is also called the optical polarization vector of the light wave. Any EM wave can naturally show or be designed to show a particular polarization behavior, and photonic system designers can use light’s polarization properties in synergy with various materials’ polarization properties to form functional engineering systems. Indeed, an EM-wave’s polarization and that of a medium in which the wave travels ...

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