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# Definition of S polarization, P polarization, TE polarization0, TM polarization, X polarization, Y polarization

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How do you define S polarization, P polarization, TE polarization0, TM polarization, X polarization, Y polarization?

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Userlevel 5
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Polarization is defined as the direction of "oscillation", not the direction in which the electric field travels.

From the figure below, (1) goes in the Z direction, but the electric field oscillates in the Y direction, thus becoming Y-polarized light (linearly polarized light in the Y direction).

(2) It advances in the Z direction, but because the electric field oscillates in the X direction, it becomes X-polarized light (linearly polarized light in the X direction).

A more general definition is defined from the direction of the "plane of incidence".

The plane formed by the incident light vector and the boundary normal vector is called the incident plane. When the electric field oscillates perpendicular to the incident surface, it is defined as s-polarized light or TE-polarized light. When the electric field oscillates parallel to the plane of incidence, it is defined as p-polarized light or TM polarized light. S is a vertical word in German with the acronym Senkrecht. p stands for parallel.

More information about S and P polarization states: How does OpticStudio define the s- and p-polarization states? | Zemax Community

In Zemax, the local coordinates used to define the polarization state of the light source are Jx (the energy corresponding to the S component) and Jy (the energy that defines the P component).

If you want to polarize light in a specific direction, you can model it by setting the polarization state of the light source + reference axis + rotation of the light source.

The reference axis is shown in the figure below.

If you want to set it to X-direction polarization as a prerequisite for light propagation in the Z direction, you need to choose a Y-axis reference.

In this case, S=Y crosses K, so S is in the X direction.

Thus, (Jx,Jy)=(1,0) & Y axis reference causes light to propagate in the Z direction and polarize in the X direction.

Similarly, if the light source is polarized in the Y direction, you can choose an X-axis reference so that there is no component in the Ex direction.

When linearly polarized in a specific direction, the light source can be rotated by an angle, thus changing the polarization direction of the resulting light.

Userlevel 5
+3

S = horizontal E field oscillation, or HPOL

P = vertical E field oscillation, or VPOL

Easy trick:

P = penetrate. Think of a sewing machine needle, going up and down in a vertical direction, penetrating cloth.  That's what the E field is doing to the optical surface.

S = skip.  HPOL light vibrate sideways, and skips off the surface with almost zero penetration.  Think of a pencil held sideways, then thrown toward the surface.  It hits the surface with the pencil sideways, and reflects the sideways pencil away.

Mike

Userlevel 5
+3

S = horizontal E field oscillation, or HPOL

P = vertical E field oscillation, or VPOL

Easy trick:

P = penetrate. Think of a sewing machine needle, going up and down in a vertical direction, penetrating cloth.  That's what the E field is doing to the optical surface.

S = skip.  HPOL light vibrate sideways, and skips off the surface with almost zero penetration.  Think of a pencil held sideways, then thrown toward the surface.  It hits the surface with the pencil sideways, and reflects the sideways pencil away.

Mike

Hi Mike, thank you so much for your sharing! this trick helps a lot! Really useful!

Userlevel 5
+3

This forum post could be quite useful in understanding how it works.:

Visualize the polarization direction for different references | Zemax Community

Hey yuan, Iam need to see how the polarization effects the interference. how can i set a polarizer such that only S-polarised beam is transmitted. I tried to define ideal2 coating on a cylinder and placed on beam path. But i cant see the effect of places polariser. Could you please help with this regards?

Thankyou