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4

POLARIZATION

The phenomena of interference and diffraction considered in previous two chapters were explained on the assumption that light is a wave motion. It did not matter whether the waves are longitudinal or transverse. In the former type of waves the displacements are parallel to the direction of propagation as in sound waves in air while in the latter type of waves the displacements are perpendicular to the direction of propagation as in the waves in a stretched string. The question is, are light waves longitudinal or transverse? It was possible to answer this question only after the discovery of the phenomenon of polarization of light. Actually the longitudinal waves do not undergo polarization whereas the transverse waves exhibit the phenomenon of polarization. The phenomenon of polarization is exhibited by light waves. Hence, it was inferred that light waves are transverse waves. An experiment based on mechanical vibrations of strings can be given to explain the idea of polarization.

G 2 G 1 M 1 M 2
G 2
G 1
M 1
M 2

Fig. 4.1. Polarization of mechanical waves.

Imagine a long string passing through two parallel gratings G 1 and G 2 of iron bars to be stretched, somewhat loosely, between two men as shows in Fig. 4.1 Let the first man M 1 produces waves in the string by rapidly and arbitrarily changing the direction of motion of his hand. The waves moving along the string have got vibrations of the particles of the string almost in all directions. These waves existing between the first man M 1 and the first grating G 1 are defined as unpolarized waves. The vibrations of various particles of the string in these waves are taking place in different planes. This readily follows that only that wave whose vibrations are in the vertical plane (parallel to the slits of the grating ) will be found between G 1 and G 2 . Thus the waves between G 1 and G 2 are defined as polarized waves. The grating G 1 is known as polarizer. Now as the bars of the second grating G 2 are

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arranged parallel to those of G 1 , the polarized waves issuing from G 1 would be able to pass through it, as shown in Fig. 4.1. When the grating G 2 is turned through 90°, the polarized waves issuing from G 1 would be unable to pass through it, as shown in Fig. 4.2. In the intermediate positions of G 2 the waves issuing from G 1 would be partly stopped and partly transmitted through it. Thus the second grating acts as an analyser or as a detector of the state of polarization .

G 2 G 1 M 1
G 2
G 1
M 1

Fig. 4.2. Polarization of mechanical waves.

If, however, the string were replaced by a spiral spring, the longitudinal waves created in it would pass freely from one end to the other, unaffected by the presence of slits or their relative orientation. Polarization is thus the characteristic of transverse waves only.

If we take a thin slice of a tourmaline crystal, cut parallel to its crystallographic axis, and allow a beam of light to fall normally on the flat surface, a part of it passes through; and if the tourmaline crystal be rotated , the character of transmitted light remains unchanged. But if the emergent light be further passed through a similar crystal, with its axis parallel to the first, the light is almost completely transmitted by the second crystal, Fig 4.3. If the second crystal is now gradually rotated about the direction of incident light ray, so that the axes of the two crystals are inclined to each other, the intensity of the transmitted light diminishes till, when the axes are at right angles, no light passes through the second crystal.

Polarised Polarised

Ordinary Light A Light D G Light H F E Maximum B C (a) Intensity
Ordinary
Light
A Light
D
G
Light
H
F
E
Maximum
B
C
(a)
Intensity
Ordinary
Polarised
Light
Light
No Light
P
P 1 (b)
2

Fig. 4.3. Polarization of light.

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4.187

If the second crystal is rotated further, so that the axes are again parallel, light is again transmitted. The same phenomenon will be observed if the second crystal is stationary and the first is rotated. This simple experiment shows that light, in passing through the first crystal, has acquired a property, which prevents it from passing through a definite position of the second crystal. The light in passing through the first crystal is said to be plane polarized.

The complete obstruction of the light by the second crystal proves that the light vibrations cannot be longitudinal. Had they were longitudinal, the orientation of second crystal would not affect the intensity of transmitted light. We can then consider ordinary light to consist of transverse waves in which the vibrations take place

in all dirctions perpendicular to the direction in which

light is travelling.

The transverse character of light waves was known in the early years of the nineteenth century; however, the nature of the displacement associated with a light wave was known only after, Maxwell had put forward his famous electromagnetic theory. According to this theory there is associated with a plane electromagnetic wave an electric field E and a magnetic field B which are at right angles to each other. For a propagating in the Z-direction the electric and magnetic fields can be written in the form :

and

E x = E 0 cos (kz – t), E

y = 0, E z = 0

B z = 0

B x = 0, B y = B 0 cos (kz – t),

(4.1)

(4.2)

ω =

v

y = B 0 cos ( kz – t ), (4.1) (4.2) ω = v where,

where,

1

and

represents the velocity of the waves, and are the dielectric permitivity and the magnetic permeability of the medium. Since E z = 0 and B z = 0, the wave is transverse. The Eqs (4.1) and (4.2) also show that E and B are at right angles to each other and both the vectors are at right angles to the direction of propagation. In fact the direction of propagation is along the vector (E × B). The electromagnetic theory also tells us that

k =

v =

B ). The electromagnetic theory also tells us that k = v = (4.3) (4.4) v

(4.3)

(4.4)

v =

E

0

B

0

(4.5)

Thus in light waves , these are electric and magnetic fields which oscillate with respect to time. But as electric field is effective in producing the sensation of vision, we shall consider the vibrations of electric vector only for studying the polarization effects.

Let us assume that a beam of light is travelling towards the observer, i.e., along Z-direction as shown in Fig. 4.4. The electric vector in the beam is executing linear vibration in a plane containing z-axis (the direction of propagation of the wave) and oriented at an angle with the x-axis. If the value of remains unchanged

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that light is defined as plane polarized light (Fig.4.4) . If, on the other hand, the value of changes randomly, that light is defined as unpolarized light (Fig. 4.4a). These random changes occur in the intervals of the order of 10 8 s. Every orientation of amplitude E 0 is equally probable . The average effect is completely symmetrical about the direction of propagation. If we resolve the vibration of Fig. 4.4 (b) into linear components E x = E 0 cos and E y =E 0 sin , they will in general be unequal, but when is allowed to vary at

in general be unequal, but when is allowed to vary at ( a ) All planes

(a) All planes are

equally probable

y E 0 E y θ x E x
y
E 0
E y
θ
x
E x

(b) Each vibration can be resolved into two components in the x and y directions

Fig. 4.4. Vibrations in unpolarized light.

random, the net result will be two vibrations at right angles with equal amplitudes but no coherence of phase. Each vibration will be the resultant of a large number of individual vibrations with random phase. Fig. 4.5 shows the common way of picturing these vibrations. Parts (a) and (b) of the figure represent two plane polarized

(a) (d) (e) (b) (c) (f)
(a)
(d)
(e)
(b)
(c)
(f)

Fig.4.5. Pictorial representation of side and end views of plane polarized and ordinary light.

components, and part (c) the two components together in an unpolarized beam. Dots represent the linear vibrations of the electric vector at right angles to the plane of paper. Double pointed arrows represent vibrations confined to the plane of the paper. The parts (d),(e) and (f) of the figure show how the vibrations in (a), (b) and (c) would appear respectively if we were looking along the directions of the rays.

(i) Unpolarized Light : The ordinary light (like that coming from the sun or any other source of light) in which the vibrations of electric vector are in all directions normal to the direction of propagation of the wave is defined as unpolarized light.

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4.189

(ii)

Polarized Light : The light (like that coming after passing through a tourmaline crystal P in Fig. 4.3), in which the vibrations of electric field vector are limited to only one particular direction at right angles to the direction of propagation of the wave is defined as plane polarized light.

(iii)

Polarizer : The device (like reflector, refractor, crystal etc.), which limits the vibrations of electric field vector of incident unpolarized light in one particular direction at right angles to the direction of propagation of wave, is defined as polarizer.

(iv)

Analyser : The device (like reflector, refractor , crystal etc.), which is used to detect whether the given light is polarized or unpolarized, is defined as analyser.

(v)

Optic Axis : All crystals possess a certain direction about which the crystal form and the arrangement of atoms are symmetrical. This direction of symmetry is defined as optic axis. If unpolarized light is made incident on such a crystal, then only those vibrations of electric vector which are parallel to the optic axis will be able to pass through the crystal (emergent light being plane polarized) and vibrations in all other directions will be absorbed. It should be emphasized that the optic axis is not a particular line through the crystal, rather it is a direction. All imaginary lines in the crystal parallel to this ‘direction’ will be the optic axes of the crystal. There exists complete symmetry of crystal properties, such as refractive index, coefficient of thermal expansion, thermal conductivity etc., about the optic axis.

(vi)

Plane of Vibration : The plane (like plane ABCD in Fig. 4.3.), containing the vibrations of electric field vector of plane polarized light as well as the direction of propagation of the wave, is defined as the plane of vibration.

(vii) Plane of Polarization : The plane (like plane EFGH in Fig. 4.3), perpendicular to the plane of vibration and passing through the direction of propagation of the wave, is defined as plane of polarization. There are no vibrations of electric vector in the plane of polarization.

(viii) Principal Section : A plane containing the optic axis and perpendicular to two opposite faces of a crystal is defined as the principal section of the crystal.

The methods by which polarized waves are produced are classified as under :

(i)

Polarization of Reflection and Refraction

(ii)

Polarization of Double Refraction

(iii)

Polarization by Selective Absorption

(iv)

Polarization by Scattering.

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In 1809, French Scientist Mauls discovered that when natural light strikes a reflecting surface of some transparent material, there is found to be preferential reflection for those waves in which the electric vector is vibrating perpendicular to the plane of incidence (the plane containing the incident ray, the reflected ray and the normal to the surface). However, at normal incidence all directions of polarization are reflected equally. At one particular angle of incidence, known as ‘polarizing angle’ (or Brewster angle) only that light for which the electric field vector is perpendicular to the plane of incidence is reflected (Fig. 4.6.). When incident at polarizing angle, none of the components parallel to the plane of incidence is reflected i.e., such components are 100% transmitted in the refracted beam . Of the components perpendicular to the plane of incidence about 15% are reflected. The fraction reflected depends upon the refractive index of the reflecting material. Thus the reflected light

Incident natural light Reflected light weak and 100% polarized Normal θ p µ a θ
Incident natural
light
Reflected light
weak and 100%
polarized
Normal
θ p
µ a
θ p
Reflecting surface
θ b
µ b

Refracted (transmitted) light strong and slightly polarized

Refracted (transmitted) light strong and slightly polarized is weak but completely linearly polarized. The refracted

is weak but completely linearly polarized. The refracted light is a mixture of all the parallel components (100% refracted at polarizing angle) and the remaining 85% of the perpendicular components. The refracted beam is therefore strong but only partially polarized. If this refracted beam is made to pass through a stack of glass plates at polarizing angle then in all of these reflections 100% of the parallel component is transmitted, and only 15% of the perpendicular component is reflected and rest 85% is transmitted. Thus the perpendicular components are gradually removed from the transmitted beam, leaving it more completely polarized in the plane of incidence. (Fig. 4.7).

Polarization

4.191

Incident

unpolarized light θ p Light polarized normal to page n n n
unpolarized
light
θ p
Light polarized normal to page
n
n
n

Light almost polarized in plane of page

Fig. 4.7. Polarization of light by a pile of glass plates.

If I || and I be the intensities of the parallel and perpendicular components

respectively in the transmitted light, then the proportion of polarization is given by:

PP

=

I

I

I

+

I

=

n

n

2

2

+ ⎜

1

2

(4.6)

where n is the number of plates (i.e., 2n surfaces) and is the refractive index.

In 1812, the British Scientist Sir David Brewster discovered that when the angle of incidence is equal to the polarizing angle i p , the reflected ray and the refracted ray are perpendicular to each other (Fig. 4.8) In this case, the angle of refraction r becomes

r = 90° – i p

From Snell’s law of refraction

 

If

i

=

sin

i

sin r

=i p , then r

sin i

p

= 90° – i

p

=

sin (90

0

i

p

)

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Incident unpolarized Reflected light wave i p Air i p n = 1.5 Glass γ
Incident
unpolarized
Reflected
light
wave
i
p
Air
i
p
n = 1.5
Glass
γ

Fig. 4.8. Polarization Brewster's law.

(4.7)

This relation is known as Brewster’s Law. For air-glass, polarizing angle i p = 57° and for air-water, i p = 53.1°.

In 1809, a French Scientist Etienne Louis Malus enunciated a law which tells us how the intensity transmitted by the analyzer varies with the angle that its plane of transmision makes with that of the polarizer. To derive this law let us suppose that the angle between the two planes of transmission is at any instant.

= tan i p

Transmission plane

of polarizer Transmission plane of analyser E 0 E 01 E 02 θ
of polarizer
Transmission plane
of analyser
E 0
E 01
E 02
θ

Fig. 4.9. Resolution of amplitude of plane polarized light into components.

The amplitude of plane polarized light (E 0 ) emerging from the polarizer, may be resolved into two components as shown in Fig. 4.9.

E 01 = E 0 cos and E 02

= E 0 sin

respectively, along and perpendicular to the plane of transmission of the analyser.

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4.193

The perpendicular component is eliminated in the analyser while the parallel

component is freely transmitted through it. Therefore, the intensity of light (I) that emerges from the analyser is given by

(4.8)

where I 0 is the intensity of the plane polarized light incident on the analyser. This relation is called Malus law. It states that the transmitted intensity varies as the square of cosine of the angle between the planes of transmission of analyser and polarizer. It may be emphasized that this law holds good only when light incident on analyser is completely plane polarized. For the Eq. (4. 8) to hold good, it is further assumed that there is no loss of light due to absorption in the analyser.

When a beam of light is passed through a transparent crystal like calcite (CaCO 3 ) or quartz ( SiO 2 ) it is split into two beams (Fig. 4.10).

I = E 0 2 cos 2 = I 0 cos 2

Extraordinary Image E O Ordinary Image Screen O ray E ray Optic Axis Crystal Incident
Extraordinary
Image
E
O
Ordinary
Image
Screen
O ray
E
ray
Optic Axis
Crystal
Incident
101°55′

Rays

Fig. 4.10. Polarization by double refraction.

Substances having this property are called doubly refracting or birefringent. The phenomenon of splitting of incident beam into two beams while traversing the crystal is defined as double refraction. As the two opposite faces of the crystal are parallel, the two refracted beams emerge parallel to the incident beam but are relatively displaced by a distance, which is proportional to the thickness of the crystal. The two refracted beams form two images , O and E, on a screen. One image, O, lies in the direction of incident beam. This image is formed in accordance with the ordinary laws of refraction. The other image, E, is somewhat separated, from the O image despite normal incidence. The corresponding refracted beam, therefore, does not, in general, obey the ordinary laws of refraction, on rotating the crystal about the direction of incident beam, it is observed that the O image remains stationary, while the E-image revolves in a circular path with its centre at O image. Of the two refracted rays, the ray which always obeys ordianry laws of refraction is called the odinary ray or the O-ray while the other, which behaves in quite extra ordinary manner, is called extra-ordinary ray or E-ray.

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(i)

The velocity of O-ray is the same in all directions within the crystal. In other words the crystal is characterized by a single value of refractive index for the O-ray.

(ii)

E-ray travels in the crystal with a speed that varies with direction. In other words, the refractive index for the E-ray varies with the direction.

(iii)

The difference between the refractive indices for O-ray and E-ray is called : birefringence.

(iv)

In uniaxial crystal like calcite and quartz there is no double refraction along the optic axis. In case of biaxial crystals like topaz and arogonite there are two directions in which there is no double refraction.

(v)

The O-ray and E-ray are plane polarized at right angle to each other. In O-ray the vibrations of electric field vector are perpendicular to the plane containing the O-ray and the optic axis (the principal plane of O-ray). The direction of these vibrations in the E–ray are in the plane containing the E–ray and the optic axis (the principal plane of E-ray).

(vi)

Althouth the O-ray and the E-ray are derived from the same beam, they will not exhibit interference phenomenon, because the state of polarization is different in the two rays.

Huygens’ wave theory with the Huygens’ principle as such could not explain double refraction. In order to explain this phenomenon, Huygens made the following assumptions.

1. Every ether particle in a doubly refracting crystal, when disturbed by a wave, sends out two wavefronts, one the ordinary and the other the extraordinary.

2. The wavefront for the ordinary is spherical.

3. The wavefront for the extraordinary is an ellipsoid of revolution, with optic axis as the axis of revolution.

4. The sphere and the ellipsoid touch each other at points which lie on the optic axis of the crystal.

5. In case of negative crystals like calcite, Fig. 4.11 (a), the sphere lies inside the ellipsoid.

6. In case of positive crystals like quartz, Fig. 4.11 (b), the ellipsoid lies

inside the sphere. These assumptions are sufficient to explain double refraction. It will be clear from the following example.

Calcite

0 P Optic Axis
0
P
Optic
Axis

Negative

Fig. 4.11 (a).

E

Quartz Axis P E Optic
Quartz
Axis
P E
Optic

Positive

0

Fig. 4.11 (b).

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4.195

Let XY (Fig. 4.12) denote the section of the surface of a negative crystal by the plane of the paper. Let OA indicate the direction of the optic axis, which is here

B A C X O Ε OA O Ray E Ray
B
A
C
X
O
Ε
OA
O Ray
E Ray

Fig. 4.12.

Y

assumed to lie in the plane of incidence and making an angle with the crystal face. Let a plane wavefront AB be incident obliquely on the crystal surface. When the edge A strikes the surface, the ether particle at A sends out two wavelets inside the crystal, one ordinary and the other extraordinary. According to Huygens’ assumptions, ordinary wave surface is spherical while the extraordinary wave surface is an ellipsoid of revolution. Since, calcite is a negative crystal, the sphere lies inside the ellipsoid and both touch at points which lie the optic axis. At the time when the wavelet from

BC where is the refractive

E

B , reaches C , the radius of the spherical wavelet is

index of the O-wave. This is also the length of the minor axis of the ellipsoid, while

BC , where E is the refractive index of E-wave, at

right angles to the optic axis. As the wavefront AB advances, various ether particles between A and C give rise to O and E-wave surfaces. The tangent plane from C to the O-wave surface gives the ordinary refracted wavefront while CE, the tangent plane from C to the extraordinary wave surface gives the position of the extraordinary refracted wavefront. AO and AE are the O-ray and the E-ray. It is clear that double refraction is taking place. Experiments show that the ordinary and the extra-ordinary waves in a doubly refracting crystal are linearly polarized in mutually perpendicular directions. Consequently, if some means can be found to separate one wave from the otther, a doubly refracting crystal may be used as a polarizer. One method of separating the two components is by means of a Nicol prism.

the major axis of the ellipsoid is

E

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A calcite crystal is taken whose length is little more than three times its width.

Z P Q 90° 14° 48° A E B A A o 90° 14° 71°
Z
P
Q
90°
14°
48°
A E
B
A
A o
90°
14°
71°
68°
Z′
O
R
S

Fig. 4.13.

E

The end faces are cut in such alway that the acute angles in its principal section each becomes equal to 68° from 71° and the obtuse angles each becomes 112° in stead of 109°. It is done so to increase the field of view. The crystal is cut in two pieces by a plane perpendicular to the principal section as well as to the end faces RP and QS. The two newly cut faces are ground and polished optically flat and are cemented together by Canada Balsam, a transparent sticky liquid which has a refractive index 1.55 for sodium D lines (Fig. 4.14).

PQRS is the principal section of a Nicol’s prism and ZZ be the optic axis. Let a ray AB of unpolarized light parallel to PQ be incident on the face PR. On entering the Nicol prism it is broken up into two refracted rays. The O-ray and the E-ray. Each of them is plane polarized. The O-ray is polarized in the principal section (has vibrations perpendicular

to the principal section), while the E-ray is polarized perpendicular to the principal section (has vibrations in the principal section). The refractive index of O-ray for sodium D lines is 1.658 while that for E-ray is 1.486. It is, therefore, clear that canada balsam is optically rarer than calcite for O- ray. Also the dimensions of the crystal are so chosen (length three times the breadth) that the angle of incidence of the O-ray at the calcite-balsam surface becomes greater than the critical angle for the O-ray (69° in the present case). Under these conditions, The O-ray is totally reflected at the calcite-balsam surface and is absorbed by the tube containing the nicol, as the inside of the tube is blackened. However, under these very conditions. Canada balsam is denser for the E-ray than calcite, hence E-ray is transmitted. Thus, the light emerging from the Nicol prism is plane polarized with the vibrations parallel to the principal section. In the end on view these vibrations are parallel to the shorter diagonal of the end face of the nicol. The Nicol Prism can be used both as polarizer as well as analyzer of polarized light.

P Q Canada Balsam Layer R S Optic Axis
P
Q
Canada Balsam
Layer
R
S
Optic Axis

Fig. 4.14.

Polarization

4.197

Some crystals have the property of selectivity absorbing one of the two rectangular components of ordinary light. The best known mineral crystal for this purpose is ‘tourmaline’. When a beam of ordinary light is sent through a thin slab of tourmaline T 1 (Fig.4.15), the transmitted light is polarized . This can be verified by a second crystal T 2 . With T 1 and T 2 parallel to each other the light transmitted by the first crystal is also transmitted by the second. When the second crystal is rotated through 90°, no light gets through. As the beam of light enters T 1 it splits into two components, the O-ray having vibrations perpendicular to the plane of paper and the E-ray having vibrations parallel to the plane of paper. The tourmaline crystal gradually absorbs the vibration of O-ray but not those of E-ray. Thus as shown in the figure, only the E vibrations are transmitted, so that no light will merge from the crossed crystals.

T 1 T 2 Parallel
T 1
T 2
Parallel
will merge from the crossed crystals. T 1 T 2 Parallel Polaroid films Tourmaline T 2

Polaroid films

Tourmaline T 2 T 1 Crossed
Tourmaline
T 2
T 1
Crossed
T 2 Parallel Polaroid films Tourmaline T 2 T 1 Crossed Fig. 4.15. Dichroic crystals and

Fig. 4.15. Dichroic crystals and polarizing films in the parallel and crossed positions.

Polarizing crystal of large aperture were made by Herapath in 1852. He was successful in producing small crystals of the organic compound quinine iodosulfate (now known as herapathite), which completely absorbs one component of polarization and transmits the other. Polaroid was invented in 1932 by E.H. Land. These films consist of thin sheets of nitrocelluclose packed with ultramicroscopic polarizing crystals of herapathite with their optic axes all parallel. These crystals are highly dicroic which absorb one of the doubly refracted rays while transmit the other one which is plane polarized. When unpolarized light is passed through the polaroid, it splits into two plane polarized beams. In one ray the vibrations of electric field vector are parallel to the axis of hearpathite crystal. This ray is transmitted without any absorption . In the other ray the vibrations are perpendicular to the axis of herapathite crystal. These vibrations are totally absorbed. Thus, the light emerging out of the polariod is completely polarized.

(i) Polaroids are used in sun glasses to cut off the glare of light reflected from horizontal surfaces like roads, cover glasses, painting , polished tables, books etc.

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(ii) Polaroids are used in head lights and visors of cars to cut off the dazzling

light of another car approaching from the opposite direction. K-polaroids on account of their dark tinge are specially suited for this purpose. (iii) Polaroids are used to control the intensity of light entering trains and aeroplanes.

(iv) Polaroid glasses are used for viewing three dimensional pictures.

Scattered sunlight from the clear sky is partially polarized. The incident (unpolarized sunlight sets electrons in molecules of air into oscillations that are perpendicular to the direction of the sunlight (Fig. 4.16). These vibrating electrons reradiate the light, with polarizations related to the directions of accelerations of the electrons. Vibrations along the line-of-sight do not radiate energy in that direction. These vibrations will radiate energy at right angles to the line of sight.

100% Component linearly directions polarized of induced vibrations of electrons 90° 100% Incident linearly
100%
Component
linearly
directions
polarized
of induced
vibrations
of electrons
90°
100%
Incident
linearly
unpolarized
90°
polarized
light
100%
linearly
polarized
Unpolarized
100%
linearly
polarized

Fig. 4.16. Polarization by scattering.

As shown in the figure, an electromagnetic wave (light wave) from the sun is propagating in x-direction. Transverse oscillating electric fields of this wave set electrons into vibration in all directions in the y-z plane. In the figure these vibrations are shown resolved into y and z directions. For an observer in the ± y-directions, only the z-component of electron motion radiates in that direction, the scattered radiation in the y-direction is 100% polarized. Similarly, only component motion of electrons in the + y-directions contribute to radiation in the ± z-direction. Hence the radiation in the z-direction is also 100% plane polarized. Scattering in the forward and backward directions is unpolarized. At all other angles the scattered radiation is partially polarized.

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4.199

This process, described above, of absorbing radiations by molecules and

reradiating them is called

shorter waves are scattered more than the longer ones. In fact the intensity of scattered radiation (I) is inversely proportional to the fourth power of its wavelength i.e.,

scattering. Both theory and experiment indicate that

I

1

4

λ

(4.9)

Thus the short waves of violet and blue are scattered more than the red. That is why sky appears blue. Towards evening, when sun light travels a large distance through the atmosphere to reach an observer, a large portion of blue light in the sun light is removed from it by scattering, . White light without blue is somewhat yellow and reddish in hue. This is the reason for Yellowish-red sun set. From this explanation it follows that if the earth had no atmosphere we would receive no sky light and the sky would appear black even during the day. Example 4.1: Unpolarized light of intensity I 0 is incident upon two polarizing sheets whose transmission axes are at an angle of 35° with respect to each other. Find intensity of the light emerging from the second sheet. Solution: After passing through the first sheet, the light intensity is reduced to

I

0

2

. Now according to Mauls law,

I

=

I 0 cos 2

where I 0 is the intensity of polarized light.

Here,

I 0 =

I =

I

0

2

I

0

2

and = 35°

cos 2 35° =

I

0

2

× 0.671 = 0.336 I 0

Ans.

Example 4. 2: What is the polarizing angle for light incident on water of

4

refractive index

transmitted into water?

3

? What is the corresponding angle of refraction for light

Solution: From Brewster’s law tan i p =

Here,

4

3

=

4

3

= 53.13°

Ans.

The incident light is at the polarizing angle, hence the reflected and refracted

i p = tan 1

rays are mutually perpendicular, hence

i p + r

= 90° r = 90° – i p

Ans.

Example 4. 3. At night an underwater flood light is turned on in a pool. At what angle of reflection is the light completely polarized ? Calculate the

= 90° – 53.13° = 36.87°

corresponding angle of refraction also

a

=

4

3

⎞ ⎠ ⎟ .

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Solution: From Brewster’s law tan i p =

Here,

= a

i p = tan 1

=

1 3

µ aω

=

4

3

4

= 36.87°

Ans.

Since light is incident at the polarizing angel, hence the reflected and the refracted rays will be perpendicular, hence

r = 90° – i r = 90° – 36.87 = 53.13° Ans.

Example 4. 4: Unpolarized light of intensity I 0 is incident on two polarizing sheets having their polarizing directions parallel. What is the intensity of light emerging out of the second sheet? Through what angle must either sheet be turned if the intensity is to drop to one quarter ? Solution: The initial intensity is given by

p

I =

E

0

2

=

E

2

01

+

E 2

02

Where E 01 and E 02 are the components of amplitudes of light in two mutually perpendicular directions. But the average values of E 01 and E 02 are same. I 0 = 2E 2 01 When light passes through the first polarizing sheet, then vibrations at right angles to the polarizer axis are cut down. Hence, the intensity of light emerging out of the first sheet will be

I 01

=

2 E

2

01

+

I

0

2

As the polarizing direction of two sheets are parallel, hence the whole energy incident on the second sheet will emerge out of it. Hence, the intensity of light emerging out of the second sheet is

Ans.

I

0

4

I 01

=

From Mauls law

I = I m cos 2 where I m is the intensity of polarized light incident on the second sheet.

Here,

cos 2

I

0

I

0

I m =

I

0

4 2

=

1

2

and I =

=

I

0

2

cos 2

= 45°

4

cos =

1

2
2

Ans.

Polarization

4.201

Example 4.5: The critical angle of light in a certain substance is 42°. What is the polarizing angle ? Solution: The critical angle is given by

sin i c =

1

µ

and from Brewster’s law = tan

i

p

1

Here,

tan i p = =

i c = 42°

1

sin i

c

tan i p =

sin i

c

i p = 56.2°

= 1.49

Ans.

Example 4.6: Plane polarized light is incident normally on a plate of doubly refracting uniaxial crystal with faces cut parallel to the optic axis.

Compare the intensities of extra- ordinary and ordinary rays, if the light is

incident with vibrations making an angle of 30° with

the optic axis. Given

= 6000 Å , e = 1.5532, = 1.5442.

Solution: Let E 0 be the amplitude of the incident polarized light wave and is the angle which the incident vibrations make with the optic axis. On entering the crystal, the light will split up into two components, an extra-ordinary component E 0 cos having vibrations parallel to the optic axis and an ordinary component E 0 sin having vibrations perpendicular to the optic axis. Hence, the ratio of intensities of extra-ordinary and ordinary rays will be :

I

E

I

0

=

E

0

2

cos

2

θ cos

2

30

0

E 0

2

sin

2

θ

=

sin

2

30

0

2 ⎛ 3 ⎞ ⎜ ⎟ 2 ⎝ ⎠ = 2 = 3 : 1
2
3
2
=
2
= 3 : 1
Ans.
1
⎝ ⎜
2
⎠ ⎟

Example 4.7: Two Nicols have parallel polarizing directions so that the intensity of transmitted light is maximum. Through what angle must either Nicol be turned if the intensity is to drop to one third of the intensity of incident light? Solution :Let the intensity of the incident unpolarized light is I 0 . After passing through the first Nicol the intensity falls to I 0 /2 and this is the maximum intensity I (say). According to Mauls laws :

m

Here,

I= I m cos 2 I 0 I = , and I m = 3
I=
I m cos 2
I
0
I =
, and I m =
3
I
I
0
0
=
cos 2
3
2
2
cos =
= 0.8165
3
= 35. 36°

I

0

2

Ans.

4.202

Engineering Physics

Example 4.8: Light is incident on a water surface ( a =1.33) at such an angle that the reflected light is completely linearly polarized. What is the angle of incidence ? A block of glass ( ag =1.50) having a flat upper surface is immersed in water in such a way that the former ray after being refracted into water, is reflected back from the upper surface of the glass block. This reflected light is found to be again completely linearly polarized. Find the angle between the surface of water and surface of the glass. Solution: From Brewster’s law

Now,

tan i p =

= 1.33

i p = tan 1 (1. 33) = 53.06°

wg =

g

w

=

= 1.1278

For complete polarization at the interface of water and glass

tan i p = 1.1278

i

p

= tan 1 (1.1278) = 48.44°

From Snell’s law

aw =

sin i

p

sin r

sin r =

sin i

p

1.33

=

sin 53 .06

0

1.33

= 0.6009

r = sin 1 (0.6009) = 36.94° Angle between water and glass surfaces

Ans.

i p r i p
i
p
r
i p

= angle between the normals

= i p – r

= 48.44° – 36.94 0 = 11.50°

Ans.

Example 4.9: Canada balsam has a refractive index 1.528. What is the minimum angle of incidence that the ordinary ray may make with canada balsam layer of Nicol prism to be totally reflected at this layer ? (Refractive index of calcite = 1.66). Solution: The minimum angle of incidence for total internal reflection is the critical angle. Refractive index of calcite w.r.t. canada balsam

=

µ calcite

µ canada

=

If i c is the critical angle then

sin i c =

1 1.528

µ =

1.66

1.66

1.528

= 0.9205

i c = 67°

Ans.

Exmaple 4.10: If the polarising angle for a piece of glass for green light

is 60°, find the angle of minimum deviation for green light for its passage

through a 60° prism made of the same glass. Solution: From Brewster’s law

[UPTU II Sem. 2000–2001]

= tan i p =

A + δ m sin 2 sin A / 2
A
+ δ
m
sin
2
sin
A / 2

Polarization

4.203

Here

or

i p = 60° tan i p = + δm

=

3
3

3 = 1.732

= sin 60°

sin 60

2 2

60 + δm

2

= 60° m = 60°

Ans.

Let us consider two linearly polarized electromagnetic waves of same frequency and both propagating along the same direction (z-axis say) with their electric vectors oscillating along the x-axis. The electric field associated with these waves can be

written as

E

1

E

2

= xˆ E 01 cos ( t – 1 )

(4.10)

= xˆ E 02 cos ( t – )

(4.11)

The superposition of these vibrations results in the resultant vibration given by:

Let us put,

E

E

=

= xˆ E 01 cos ( t – ) +

= xEˆ

E

1

01

+ E

2

xˆ E 02 cos ( t – )

(cos t cos sin t sin )

02 ( cos t cos sin t sin )

+ xEˆ

x cos t (E 01 cos + E 02 cos ) x sin t (E 01 sin + E 02 sin )

E 01 cos E 02 cos E 0 cos E 01 sin E 02 sin E 0 sin

+

=

E =

xˆ E 0 cos t cos xˆ E 0 sin t sin

E

= xˆ E 0 cos ( t – )

where the amplitude of resultant wave is given by :

E 0 2 = E 2 01 + E 2 02 + 2E 01 E 02 cos ( )

(4.12)

(4.13)

Eq. (4.12) tells us that the resultant is also a linearly polarized wave with its electric vector oscillating along the same axis i.e. x-aixs.

When ordinary light is incident normally on a thin plate of uniaxial crystal cut with faces parallel to the optic axis, both the ordinary and the extra-ordinary rays travel along the same path but with different velocities. Similarly if plane polarized light is made to fall normally on such a thin crystalline plate cut parallel to the optic axis, it is split up into ordinary and extra-ordinary rays which travel through the plate in the same direction but with different velocities (Fig.4.17). Since the E-wave and the

4.204

Engineering Physics

O-wave travel in the crystal in same

direction but with different velocities,

a path difference (or a phase

difference) is created between the two. Since the velocity of E-wave for calcite is greater than that of the O- wave, the length of the the former in crystal is greater than that of the O- wave.

Thus the O-wave falls behind the E-wave. If the refractive indices of the E-ray and O-ray for calcite are E and O respectively, the path difference ( ) created between them

in traversing a thickness ‘t’ of the

calcite plate is given by :

X O P E Y t
X
O
P
E
Y
t

Fig. 4.17. Section of a calcite crystal with optic axis parallel to XY.

E 0 Fast sin θ Slow C = ( O – E ) t (4.14)
E 0
Fast
sin θ
Slow
C
= ( O – E ) t
(4.14)
The corresponding phase difference is given by
2π = 2π
=
(
O – E ) t
(4.15)
λ λ
E
cos θ
0
E
θ E 0
O
P

Fig. 4.18. The incident plane polarised light while passing through the crystal is split into E, the fast component and O, the slow component.

The calcite crystal used as above is known as a phase retardation plate.If

the incident plane polarized beam of light, of wavelength ‘ ’ falls on the calcite crystal C , Fig. 4.18, so that the direction of vibration is inclined at an angle to the optic axis. If E 0 in Fig. 4.18 is the amplitude of the incident beam (vibration), then the amplitude of vibrations along the optic axis is E 0 cos (amplitude of E-wave, say E 01 ) and perpendicular to optic. Axis is E 0 sin (amplitude of O-wave, say E 02 )

= E 0 cos

E 01

(4.16)

E 02 = E 0 sin

Now, we consider superposition of two linearly polarized electromagnetic waves (both propagating along z-direction) but their electric vectors oscillating along two mutually perpendicular directions. The equations of such waves may be written as :

E

1

E

2

= xˆ

= yˆ

E 01 cos t

(4.17)

E 02 cos ( t )

(4.18)

Polarization

4.205

These equations may be re-written in scalar form as E x = E 01 cos t E y = E 02 cos ( t – )

From Eq. (4.20) we have

E

y

E

02

= cos t cos + sin t sin

From Eqs. (4.19) and (4.21), we get

E

y

E

02

E

x

cos

E

01

2 E x 1 − δ + 2 E 01 2 E x 2 sin
2
E
x
1
δ +
2
E
01
2
E
x
2
sin
δ
2
E
01

=

E

y

δ

2

= sin 2

2 E E

x

y

E

x

E

02

2

E

y

E

01

E

2

x

cos

E

02

+

E

2

01

E

01

E

02

cos = sin 2

sin

δ

(4.19)

(4.20)

(4.21)

(4.22)

This equation, in general, represents an ellipse. Hence, the emergent light is elliptically polarized. The following are however, the special cases.

If the phase difference between the waves is = n Eq. (4.22) becomes

E

x

(

1)

n

E

y

E

01

E

02

2

E

y

E

x

= 0

=

(

1) n E

E

02

01

(4.23)

This represents the equation of a straight line in the E x E y plane implying a linearly polarized wave. The slope of this line is given by :

tan =

(

1) n

E

02

E

01

=

E

02

E

01

(4.24)

where is the angle that this line makes with the E x -axis. For even values of n (=

0,2,4,

(k)]. For odd values of n (= 1,3,5,

of phase [Fig. 4.19 (f)].

) the slope is negative and two vibrations are out

the slope is positive and the two vibrations are in phase [Fig. 4.19 (a) and

)

For

=

E

⎜ ⎝

2

n +

x

E 2

01

1 , 3 2 π , 5 2 π ,
2

π

+

2

y

E 2

02

π

=

2

= 1

⎟ ⎠

E

Eq. (4.16) becomes

(4.25)

which represents a symmetrical ellipse. In this case the tip of the electric vector rotates on the circumference of an ellipse and consequently the light is said to be elliptically polarized light , the plane of the ellipse being normal to the direction of propagation (propagation is out of the paper).

4.206

Engineering Physics

π

5 2 π ,

9 2 π ,

the tip of electric vector rotates in

the anti-clockwise direction, Such a wave is known as right elliptically polarized wave. (Fig. 4.19 (c)).

For even values of n , =

2

,

E y

(Fig. 4.19 ( c )). For even values of n , = 2 , E y

E x

4.19 ( c )). For even values of n , = 2 , E y E
4.19 ( c )). For even values of n , = 2 , E y E

δ = 0

δ = π/4

δ

= π/2

(a)

(b)

(c)

δ = π /4 δ = π /2 ( a ) ( b ) ( c

δ = π/2 (d)

= π /2 ( a ) ( b ) ( c ) δ = π /2

δ = 3π/4 (e)

a ) ( b ) ( c ) δ = π /2 ( d ) δ

δ = π (f)

= π /2 ( d ) δ = 3 π /4 ( e ) δ =
= π /2 ( d ) δ = 3 π /4 ( e ) δ =
= π /2 ( d ) δ = 3 π /4 ( e ) δ =

δ = 5π/4

(g)

δ = 3π/2 δ = 3π/2 (i) (h) δ = 7π/4 δ = 2π (j)
δ = 3π/2
δ = 3π/2
(i)
(h)
δ = 7π/4
δ = 2π
(j)
(k)

Fig. 4.19. Various states of polarization.

3

7

11

the tip of electric vector rotates

in the clockwise direction. Such a wave is known as left elliptically polarized

wave.

For odd values of n, =

(Fig. 4.19 (h)).

2

,

2

,

2

,

For the values of =

E

2

x

E 2

01

+

π , Eq. 4 3 4 π , 5 4 π , 2 E 2
π ,
Eq.
4
3 4 π , 5 4 π ,
2
E
2
E E
y
x
y
2
+ E
E
E 02
01
02

(4.22) becomes

=

1

2

(4.26)

Polarization

4.207

This is the equation of an oblique ellipse. The light is again elliptically polarized. For values of , 0 < < ellipse is described in anti- clockwise direction and the light is said to be right elliptically polarized. [Fig. 4.19 (b) (e)]. For < < 2 , the elliptic vibration is described in the clockwise direction and the light is said to be left elliptic polarized (Fig. 4.19 (g) (j)).

A special case arises when = 45°. In that case we have

 

E

0

E 01 = E 0 cos 45° =

2
2

E

0

and

E 02 = E 0 sin 45° =

2
2

i.e.,

Phase diff. =

⎜ ⎝

n +

E 01 = E 02

1 then Eq. (4.22) reduces to
2

π

⎟ ⎠

(4.27)

This represents the equation of a circle of radius E 01 . Thus the emergent light

E

2

x

+ E

2

y

= E 2 01

is circularly polarized.

π

, 5 2 π , 9 2 π ,

the tip of electric

vector rotates along the circumference of a circle in the anticlockwise direction in a

plane perpendicular to the direction of propagation ( + z-direction). The wave is said to be right circularly polarized wave (Fig. 4.19 (d)). For odd values of n

For even values of n (= 0,2,4,

), i.e., =

2

i.e., for = 3 2 π , 7 2 π , 11 2 π ,

(= 1, 3, 5,

the tip of electric vector rotates in a

circle in clock-wise direction and the wave is said to be left circularly polarized (Fig. 4.19 (i)). Thus from the above discussion it is inferred that the plane polarized and circularly polarized light are the special cases of elliptically polarized light.

),

A plate of doubly refracting uniaxial

crystal cut with its optic axis parallel to the refracting faces and capable of producing

a path difference of

(or a phase

 
  Monochromazic  

Monochromazic

 
 

light

 
 
   
 
Monochromazic     light           Optic         axis O
Monochromazic     light           Optic         axis O
 
    Optic
 

Optic

 
   
 
   
    axis

axis

O
O

O

   
Optic         axis O         E     Emergent  
Optic         axis O         E     Emergent  
   
E
E

E

   

Emergent

 
 
  light

light

Fig. 4.20 Quarter wave plate.

λ

4

π ) between the ordinary and

2

difference of

the extraordinary waves is called a quarter

wave plate

When a beam of monochromatic light of wavelength is incident normally

on such a plate (Fig. 4.20),. it is broken up into O and E waves inside the plate. Both these waves travel in the same direction (perpendicular to the face) but with

different velocities.

or a

λ plate.

4

4.208

Engineering Physics

In the case of negative crystals such as calcite, the E-ray travels faster than

the O-ray, so that O > E where O and E are the principal refractive indices of the crystal for O and E rays respectively. If ‘t’ is the thickness of the crystal plate then path t in the crystal is equivalent to O t and E t in air for O and E waves respectively. Hence, the path difference between the two waves on emerging out of the crystal will be

= ( O E ) t

If the plate is to act as a quarter wave plate, this path difference must be equal

to

λ 4 ,

i.e.,

=

( O E ) t =

λ

4

(4.28)

Hence, the minimum thickness of a quarter wave plate must be

λ

t

=

4(

µ

O

−µ

E

)

For a positive crystal such as quartz,

λ E > O

t =

4(

µ

E

−µ

O

)

In general, Eq. (4.27) may be written as

= ( 0 E )

⎜ ⎝

2 n +

 

(4

n

+

1)

λ

 

t

=

4(

µ

0

µ

E

)

 

(4

n

+

1)

λ

4(

µ

E

−µ

o

)

where n = 0,1,2,3, Then, for a negative crystal

and for a positive crystal t =

1 ⎞ λ

2

2

(4.29)

(4.30)

(4.31)

(4.32)

(4.33)

A quarter wave plate is used for producing circularly and elliptically polarized light. If plane polarized light with its vibrations making an angle of 45° with the optic axis is passed through a quarter wave plate, the emergent light is circularly polarized. If, however, the plane of vibration of the incident plane polarized light is inclined to the optic axis at an angle other than 45°, the emergent light is elliptically polarized.

A plate of double refracting uniaxial crystal cut with its optic axis parallel to

( or a phase

difference of ) between O and E waves is called a ‘half wave plate’.

the refracting faces and capable of producing a path difference of

λ

2

or

λ 2 plate

If ‘t’ is the thickness of such a plate, then in case of a negative crystal such as

calcite ( E > O ) , the path difference between the O and E waves is given by

= ( O E ) t

If this plate is to act as a half wave plate, then

= ( O E ) t =

(2n + 1)

λ

2

(4.34)

Polarization

4.209

The minimum thickness of half wave plate is given by

In general

t

t

λ

=

2(

µ

O

−µ

E

(2

n

+

1)

)

=

2(

µ

O

−µ

E

)

(4.35)

(4.36)

For a positive crystal like quartz ( E > O ) the minimum thickness of half wave plate is given by

λ

t

=

2(

µ

E

−µ

O

)

(4.37)

In general,

t

=

(2

n +

1)

λ

2(

µ

E

−µ

O

)

(4.38)

If plane polarized light is incident on a half wave plate such that it makes an angle with direction of optic axis, the emergent light is also plane polarized with vibrations inclined at an angle of 2 xample 4.11: Find the thickness of a quarter wave plate for the wavelength of light of 589 nm and o = 1.55 and e = 1.54. [UPTU II Sem. 2003–2004] Solution: The thicknesss of quarter wave plate is given by

Here

t

=

λ

4(

µ

o

−µ

e

)

= 589 nm = 5.89 × 10 5 cm o = 1.55 and e = 1.54

5.89

×

10

5

t =

4

(1.55

1.54)

×

Ans.

Example 4.12: Calculate the thickness of a quarter wave plate of quartz

for sodium light of wavelength 5893 Å. The ordinary and extra ordinary refractive indices for sodium are 1.54425 and 1.55336 respectively [UPTU, .B. Tech I Q. B. 2000]

> O , hence the crystal is positive. The thickness of quarter

= 1.47 × 10 4 cm

Solution: As wave plate is given by

E

Here

and

t

O

λ

=

)

= 1.54425 , m E = 1.55336

4(

µ

E

−µ

O

= 5893 Å = 5.893 × 10 5 cm

t =

5.893

×

10

5

4

×

(1.55336

1.54425)

5.893

×

10

5

= 1.62 × 10 3 cm

10

for quartz are 1.5508 and 1.5418

respectively. Calculate the phase retardation for = 5000 Å when the plate

thickenss is 0.032 mm.

×

=

Example 4.13: The values of