Perpendicular Polarization: Several Entities And Facts

In this physics post on Perpendicular polarization, we will know its various entities and facts.

As the name suggests, perpendicular polarization blocks the perpendicular electric vector waves and makes them travel in a plane; the waves will be polarized. The polarized will be normal to the direction of the wave axis. It generally takes into account the longitudinal path.

Let’s scroll through this article to study the different entities of perpendicular polarization.

What is perpendicular polarization?

When a source of light interacts with any object, several phenomena occur; among them, one of the critical applications is polarization. The polarization that happens due to regular electric waves is perpendicular.

perpendicular polarization

Perpendicular polarization occurs when the electric component of wave vectors travels in a perpendicular direction to that surface on which the interaction occurs, considering the direction of the wave axis. It is widely known as an s-polarized wave and occurs along longitudinal.

perpendicular polarization

To learn how-to measure perpendicular polarization with an equation.

Perpendicular polarization equation

To measure the extent of polarized a light wave gets is given by various laws of optics. Each law gives specific formulas and facts that help know the intensity of the wave’s polarization. For each parallel and perpendicular polarized wave, we have different formulas.

The formula that is used universally to calculate the perpendicular polarization of a light wave is written below,

perpendicular polarization
perpendicular polarization


r refers to reflected light

t indicates transmitted light

To move onto Fresnel’s equations for a perpendicularly polarized wave.

Fresnel equations for perpendicular polarization

Fresnel’s equation for any light rays tells the ratio of the electric field vector wave of the transmitted ray to the electric field vector wave of the incident ray. It will be identical in the case of reflected, refracted, and incident rays.

Fresnel’s equation for perpendicular polarization happens when the incident ray of the electric component of wave vector approaches a plane surface leading to the formation of partially and perpendicularly polarized waves. Here to be noticed that the other magnetic component will be parallel to the plane surface of interaction.

The equation for Fresnel’s perpendicular polarization is shown below,

perpendicular polarization

Now to know the importance of studying the concept of the perpendicular polarization for Brewster’s angle polarization reflection coefficient.

Brewster angle for perpendicular polarization

Brewster’s law is generally related to the process of unpolarized waves, polarized and refractive index.

The law says that an unpolarized light wave of the desired wavelength is made to strike the transparent plane object. At this point, the wave will be polarized to its maximum extent at the incident angle. The tangent we get from the incident angle is referred to as a refractive index of the object at that desired wavelength.

At Brewster’s angle, only the perpendicular polarization is transmitted from the surface, making the parallel waves disappear without undergoing reflection. The angle at which all the reflection, transmission, and refraction processes will occur is Brewster’s angle.

The formula for Brewster’s angle at perpendicular polarization is shown below,

perpendicular polarization

Now to study the various applications of Brewster’s angle for perpendicular polarization.

Application of Brewster’s Law for perpendicular polarization

The different applications of Brewster’s law considering the perpendicularly polarized wave are below,

  • Sunglasses
  • Polarized sunglass
  • Polarized filters
  • Camera
  • Lens
  • spectroscopy
perpendicular polarization
Image Credit: Pixabay free images

To know how a perpendicular polarization of light process occurs through light.

Perpendicular polarization of light

The word perpendicular polarization of light refers to the electric vector of light source that strikes the plane at normal, whereas the other component magnetic vector will move parallelly.

The perpendicular polarization of light also referred to as s-polarized wave, travels normal to the plane of incidence and has an essential quality of longitudinal electric wave vector that makes the wave move at normal after getting polarized.

The polarization process occurs after the light waves get restricted to a single line.

To study how a perpendicular polarization is seen in the electromagnetic wave.

Perpendicular polarization of electromagnetic waves

The word electromagnetic wave combines electric and magnetic components of wave vectors that play an essential role in the polarization process. Among these two, the polarization is classified usually based on the electric wave.

In a perpendicular polarization, the longitudinal wave, that is, waves that act perpendicular to the wave axis is considered electric. The one more basic component that is magnetic will be transverse. When any filter blocks this electromagnetic wave from a light source, the electric polarized waves change their path and move perpendicularly to the wave axis direction. Usually, the vibration of these electromagnetic waves results in perpendicular polarization.

perpendicular polarization

It was about parallel polarization of wave, and next, let’s know one of the bases of the critical law of polarization called Brewster’s law.

Perpendicular polarization oblique incidence

The word oblique for any light source refers to the fact that when a light source interacts with any plane or surface at an angle at normal, the ray will strike this angle slightly bent.

The perpendicular polarization oblique incidence is a phenomenon that takes place at an oblique angle.

 When a ray of the light wave is made to fall on a plane at an angle normal to the wave propagation axis, the light wave that strikes the plane obliquely is slightly bent while reaching normal.

perpendicular polarization
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Hence, the perpendicular polarization oblique incidence always takes place at an oblique 90-degree angle, leading to perpendicularly polarized waves.

To study more: Reflection of light examples

Frequently Asked Questions on Perpendicular polarization | FAQs

At what angle measure will the reflected amplitude be zero in a polarization?

The angle at which the reflected amplitude will measure zero in a perpendicular polarization is at Brewster’s angle.

Brewster’s angle is also referred to by many other names, such as polarized angles and internal reflection angles. When the light is reflected, the amplitude of its polarized wave will be perpendicular or parallel depending on the wave, and is made to an incident on the surface will be zero at Brewster’s angle.

Can Brewster’s angle be possible for a perpendicularly polarized wave?

Brewster’s angle is generally known as a polarizing angle that reflects and refracts light at normal. It is possible for a perpendicularly polarized wave.

If we consider any of the cases of Brewster’s angle, we observe that light undergoes reflection and refraction aligned in a perpendicular direction to one another. During polarization, Brewster’s angle restricts anyone either parallel or perpendicular wave according to its properties of dielectric and permittivity.

Will the polarization plane always be perpendicular to the plane of vibration?

In the case of perpendicular polarization, the plane of polarization will always be perpendicular to the vibrating plane.

The plane where the polarized wave gets propagated is considered the plane of polarization. In contrast, we can say that the plane that contains atoms that vibrate when hit by a light ray along the direction of propagation of the wave axis is referred to as the plane of vibration. For a perpendicular polarization, both the planes will be normal to one another.

Can transverse electromagnetic waves get polarized?

Transverse electromagnetic waves are the components of wave that is the only wave that gets polarized.

A transverse wave has a different characteristic property in that it can vibrate in a plane in all the directions that are at normal to the direction of the optic axis. At the same time, the longitudinal waves cannot propagate in every point of direction. So, from this, we can infer that transverse electromagnetic waves get polarized since they satisfy polarization.

What does the term oblique incidence mean in optics?

The word oblique means bent, and incidence refers to initial; in simple terms, both words can be defined as the bent incident light.

The oblique incident light is considered an incident angle that is not perpendicular to the surface at which the polarization process takes place. It will be an angle that is more than a normal angle.

Are electromagnetic waves considered to be perpendicularly polarized?

Both the electric and magnetic waves will travel at a path normal to one another.

The electric component of the electromagnetic wave gets incident and generally refract in a perpendicular polarization, whereas the magnetic component moves parallel to the wave axis of plane propagation. The process of restricting the electromagnetic wave and making one component of the wave vibrate and get polarized leads to perpendicular polarized light.

Can polarized light waves be parallel or perpendicular?

Both parallel and perpendicular polarized are the two main components of polarized light that tell about the direction of polarized waves.

The light waves, after experiencing restriction, result in refracted polarized waves that move in two different directions, i.e., transverse or longitudinal, or we can even say as a parallel and perpendicular path,

The filters will block anyone component while producing specific images that use the other component. The central aspect to be noticed here is that only the transverse waves can get polarized.

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