Related topics: light

How stable is deep ocean circulation in warmer climate?

If circulation of deep waters in the Atlantic stops or slows due to climate change, it could cause cooling in northern North America and Europe—a scenario that has occurred during past cold glacial periods.

Challenge and desire in Antarctic meteorology and climate

The outcomes of the 13th and 14th Workshop on Antarctic Meteorology and Climate (WAMC), as well as the 3rd and 4th Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) Meetings, was discussed in an article published in the peer-reviewed journal ...

Simple framework helps future ocean studies

A range of information is collated through a simple framework that will help marine scientists to design more accurate experiments that will better help them understand the projected impact of global warming on marine life.

Astrophysicists wear 3-D glasses to watch quasars

A team of researchers from Russia and Greece reports a way to determine the origins and nature of quasar light by its polarization. The new approach is analogous to the way cinema glasses produce a 3-D image by feeding each ...

Six-fold jump in polar ice loss lifts global oceans

Greenland and Antarctica are shedding six times more ice than during the 1990s, driving sea level rise that could see annual flooding by 2100 in regions home today to some 400 million people, scientists have warned.

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Polarization (also polarisation) is a property of waves that describes the orientation of their oscillations. This article primarily covers the polarization of electromagnetic waves such as light, although other types of wave also exhibit polarization.

By convention, the polarization of light is described by specifying the direction of the wave's electric field. When light travels in free space, in most cases it propagates as a transverse wave—the polarization is perpendicular to the wave's direction of travel. In this case, the electric field may be oriented in a single direction (linear polarization), or it may rotate as the wave travels (circular or elliptical polarization). In the latter cases, the oscillations can rotate rightward or leftward in the direction of travel, and which of those two rotations is present in a wave is called the wave's chirality or handedness. In general the polarization of an electromagnetic (EM) wave is a complex issue. For instance in a waveguide such as an optical fiber, or for radially polarized beams in free space, the description of the wave's polarization is more complicated, as the fields can have longitudinal as well as transverse components. Such EM waves are either TM or hybrid modes.

For longitudinal waves such as sound waves in fluids, the direction of oscillation is by definition along the direction of travel, so there is no polarization. In a solid medium, however, sound waves can be transverse. In this case, the polarization is associated with the direction of the shear stress in the plane perpendicular to the propagation direction. This is important in seismology.

Polarization is significant in areas of science and technology dealing with wave propagation, such as optics, seismology, telecommunications and radar science. The polarization of light can be measured with a polarimeter.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA