Polarization Experiment
with clip-on sunglasses

couple weeks ago, I bought a pair of clip-on polaroid sunglasses and busted them apart ... then cut each piece in two so I'd have four reasonably sized pieces to play with. They cost $7.99 so I will save the pieces for later use (I should know better than to throw out such things ... so I had to buy another pair ... arrrgh). What I wanted to do is play with three and four pieces and a laser pointer to find out what happens. There is nothing new here ... just new to me ... maybe.

Now, what I thought would happen is that each piece would be say, 90% effective a blocking the parallel and 90% efficient at passing the anti-parallel.

Note: When the electric field is going up and down parallel to the lines in the polaroid film ... that's when it stops them ... because the electric fields cause the electrons in the "lines" to move up and down (through the stretched molecules) easier than back and forth ... thus, energy is absorbed when the "rope" is undulating through the picket fence, parallel to it ... the opposite of what is taught in school ... hunh?

Anyway if it were true that the film was 90% efficient, then 10% of the light that wasn't supposed to get through ... would ... and 10% of the light that was supposed to get through ... wouldn't. This means that on approach to the second polaroid piece, the light from the first piece would be composed of 90% of the primary polarized light (i.e. 90% of the 50% which was initially lined up with the first polarizer = 45% of the initial light)... and 10% anti-polarized light (again 10% of 50% = 5% anti-parallel). Then, when going through the second polarizing film at a 90 degree angel to the first polarizer the output would be

10% of the 45% = 4.5% passed of the now anti-parallel light
and 90% x 5% = 4.5% parallel to the second filter

polaroid.gif - 20kb Thus, I naively thought that the light remaining after being twice polarized by polarizing films at 90% ... would be restored to unpolarized light ... albeit very much weaker (subjectively about 98% weaker). I was able to see the remaining light after two polarizations by looking through them straight at the filament in a clear glass bathroom bulb. You can plainly see the filament glowing.

I then took a third polarizing piece and found that the little remaining light from two polarizers was ... still polarized. In fact, a little investigation shows that it is polarized in the direction favored by the second polarizer. So, my initial estimation proved to be false. The actual fact is that the initial polarizer is more than 100% efficient at passing anti-parallel light and much less efficient at blocking the light it is supposed to block. In hindsight, this is obvious because if you put two polarizers at 90o to one another and block a light source ... then ... take a third and insert it between the two at say, 45o ... more light will come through than with the two anti-parallel polarizers. This would logically require that the third polarizer "rotate" the angle of polariztion of some of the light which has passed the first polarizer ... thus allowing it to go through the third. Get it?

So, this means that any light in a two film setup is rotated by the second polarizing film ... orienting it in favor of passage through it ... i.e. any polarizing filter not only passes or blocks light passively ... but rather, actively rotates the plane of polarization in some light so as to pass more of the light that one would expect to be blocked ... it actively favors pass over block.

The Laser

I then used my red laser pointer in the same way and found another surprise ... laser light is initially polarized. I didn't know this ... (or maybe read it somewhere and forgot it which is a fairly often occurrence) ... so, I suppose any laser whatsoever is polarized initially. And no ... I didn't look straight at the laser light coming out through the polarizers ... I am ignorant ... not stupid ;o)

Thus, ended my current experiments with no indication of what I was looking for ... which is ... evidence of unpolarizable light. I wish to find a residue which cannot be polarized thus giving credibility to my own photon model. The only way to absolutely falsify my model is to do an experiment on individual photons which are shown to be capable of knocking electrons out of a metal one at a time. A source of such photons would have to show evidence of unpolarizablity by going through a polarizer ... then going through a second polarizer in the same quantity at any angle of the second polarizer ... then knock an electron out of the metal.

Unfortunately, though this would be an afternoon's play for a university physics department, I can't do it. The equipment would cost a small fortune. So, if anyone can do this for me ... or ... more probably ... point me to such an experiment's paper write up ... I'd be most appreciative.

I have little hope of success here because this effect is simple to produce and if it were there ... it would probably have been noted as much as a century ago (maybe longer). There have been zillions of experiments done in university physics departments ... so it must have been done already ... somewhere. But where??
I need a URL or a lead of some kind.

Though there is slight hope of confirmation here, I am compelled to propose such a model because my view of the universe is such that some sort of geometric model ... consistent with the wave model ... should exist to embody the "collapse of the wave function" that is not inconsistent. That is, light should not be a wave spreading out and losing amplitude as 1/r ... then ... somehow all the energy that has spread out collapses at a single point ... with NO GEOMETRICAL MODEL associated with the transformation. We have a geometrical model of the electromagnetic wave and a "bullet" model of the photon ... but no actual bullets ... and no transformation model of the wave into the bullet.

The universe appears to be embodied by and in ... geometry ... wherever possible. This is a very robust consideration born out by the several hundred year history of physics and is not to be discarded without every avenue probed. But ... maybe here is where there is no geometrical model anymore ... the universe is stuck for a geometrical answer and gives us only pure mathematics to chew on (probability) ... I just don't believe it ... yet.

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