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Brewster Angle

Brewster Angle


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When light is incident on an interface between two media of different refractive index, generally some light is reflected at the interface. At one particular angle of incidence, called Brewster angle, no light is reflected if it is polarized in the plane that is defined by the incident ray and the normal to the interface. This effect explains, for example, why light reflected at an angle from the surface of water is partially polarized. In this photograph two laser beams (635 nm) are propagating from air (top) to acrylic (bottom) at Brewster angle. The left beam is polarized in the plane of incidence, no reflected light is visible. The right beam is polarized orthogonal to the plane of incidence, most of light is reflected and some is refracted at an angle defined by the Snell's law.

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