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Engineering Physics by S. Mani Naidu

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14.16 Malus law

Plane polarized light is obtained by passing unpolarized light through a polarizer. When plane polarized light from the polarizer is passed through the analyser, the intensity of polarised light transmitted through the analyser varies as the square of the cosine of the angle between the plane of transmission of the analyser and the plane of the polarizer. This is known as Malus law.

Malus law can be proved by considering the amplitude (a) of the incident plane polarized light on the surface of the analyser as shown in Fig. 14.25. Let θ be the angle between the planes of the analyser and the polariser.

The amplitude of incident plane polarised light parallel to the plane of transmission of the analyser is acos θ and perpendicular ...

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