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light polarization

A light beam is said to be linearly polarized if the end-point of the electric vector moves in a straight line when viewed along the direction of propagation of the beam. If it moves along a circle the beam is circularly polarized and if it moves along an ellipse the beam is elliptically polarized.
Circular polarization is said to be right-handed if the direction of rotation is clockwise when viewed against the direction of propagation and left-handed if the sense of the rotation is opposite. When the position of the endpoint of the electric vector is viewed at a given time t as a function of distance along x, it forms a left-handed helix if the light polarization is left-handed and a right-handed helix is it is right-handed.
PAC, 2007, 79, 293 (Glossary of terms used in photochemistry, 3rd edition (IUPAC Recommendations 2006)) on page 364
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IUPAC. Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the "Gold Book"). Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford (1997). XML on-line corrected version: (2006-) created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN 0-9678550-9-8.
Last update: 2014-02-24; version: 2.3.3.
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