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In electrodynamics, elliptical polarization is the polarization of electromagnetic radiation such that the tip of the electric field vector describes an ellipse in any fixed plane intersecting, and normal to, the direction of propagation. An elliptically polarized wave may be resolved into two linearly polarized waves in phase quadrature with their polarization planes at right angles to each other.
Additional recommended knowledge
Mathematical description of elliptical polarization
The classical sinusoidal plane wave solution of the electromagnetic wave equation for the electric and magnetic fields is (cgs units)
for the magnetic field, where k is the wavenumber,
is the angular frequency of the wave, and c is the speed of light.
is the amplitude of the field and
is the Jones vector in the x-y plane. Here θ is an angle that determines the tilt of the ellipse and αx − αy determines the aspect ratio of the ellipse. If αx and αy are equal the wave is linearly polarized. If they differ by they are circularly polarized.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Elliptical_polarization". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|