Main Body


p. 7

In a ray of photons emitted by most sources such as the sun or the heated wire in a light bulb, any particular photon’s electric vibration is randomly oriented transversely to its direction of travel. A head-on view of a ray of many such photons’ vibrations would look like this – with others vibrating at in-between orientations:




Ideally their vibrations extend indefinitely, but become vanishingly weak beyond a few microns.





p. 8

When a ray of photons hits a horizontal surface, the horizontally vibrating photons tend to be reflected while the vertically vibrating photons tend to get “dragged in” and be absorbed. Depending on how mirror-like the surface is, other photons get reflected or absorbed according to how close their vibrations are to horizontal or vertical. A ray of photons that vibrate mostly in a particular orientation is said to be polarized.




p. 9

Some materials have molecular arrangements that selectively transmit photons vibrating at a certain orientation. Placed before an ordinary light these polarized filters can also provide a source of polarized light.

Wearing vertically polarized filters can reduce the glare from horizontally polarized photons reflected from surfaces such as roads and water.

Another way to reduce reflective glare is to polarize the light source or coating the reflecting surface with a polarizing material.


Glance at the Dance of Photons Copyright © 2022 by Thomy Nilsson. All Rights Reserved.

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