Applet: Polarizers

In this applet, you can pur 1, 2, or 3 linear polarizers onto an optical bench and let a beam of unpolarized red light pass through them. The light comes from the source in the upper right corner and its intensity is detected by the photometer in the lower left corner. The intensity of the light passing though the polarimeters relative to the original intensity is shown in the display. You can change the orientation of each of the axes of polarization relative to the horizontal by using the scrollbars on the left. The orientation of the polarization axis for each polarizer is schematically indicated by the yellow lines drawn on the polarizers.

Please note: Even though it is beneficial to think of light as waves passing though the polarizers, the limitations of java only allow us to draw rays. The density of rays is meant to indicate the intensity of light.