ZZ Top Physics

Uncertain Principles: How Good Are Polarized Sunglasses?

The procedure is simple: the laser passes through the G-T polarizer, which establishes a linear polarization for the beam, then it goes through the sunglasses lens, which transmits a fraction of the light that depends on the angle between its polarization axis and the G-T polarizer. The figure you use to measure the quality of the polarizer is the “extinction ratio,” which is the ratio of the minimum and maximum transmitted intensities. For an ideal polarizer, this would be zero– perfectly polarized light would be completely blocked by an ideal polarizer at 90 degrees from the light polarization– but nothing is perfect, so there’s always a little bit of light leaking through.

One thought on “ZZ Top Physics

  1. The voltage from a photo diode isn’t linearly related to the light intensity; the current is. It might be close enough if he s feeding a ‘scope with a 50 ohm input.
    Also, I think he has mislabelled the neutral density filter it should be 3.0 OD not 30 OD.

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