- Elliptical polarization
electrodynamics, elliptical polarization is the polarizationof electromagnetic radiationsuch that the tip of the electric fieldvector describes an ellipsein 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. Since the electric field can rotate clockwise or counterclockwise as it propagates, elliptically polarized waves exhibit chirality.
Other forms of polarization, such as circular and
linear polarization, can be considered to be special cases of elliptical polarization.
Mathematical description of elliptical polarization
sinusoidalplane wave solution of the electromagnetic wave equationfor the electric and magnetic fields is (cgs units) :
for the magnetic field, where k is the
angular frequencyof the wave, and is the speed of light.
amplitudeof the field and
Jones vectorin the x-y plane. Here is an angle that determines the tilt of the ellipse and determines the aspect ratio of the ellipse. If and are equal the wave is linearly polarized. If they differ by they are circularly polarized.
Polarization of classical electromagnetic waves
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