Polarization

      Let's suppose that we use the customary slinky to model the behavior of an electromagnetic wave. As an electromagnetic wave traveled towards you, then you would observe the vibrations of the slinky occurring in more than one plane of vibration. This is quite different than what you might notice if you were to look along a slinky and observe a slinky wave traveling towards you. Indeed, the coils of the slinky would be vibrating back and forth as the slinky approached; yet these vibrations would occur in a single plane of space. That is, the coils of the slinky might vibrate up and down or left and right. Yet regardless of their direction of vibration, they would be moving along the same linear direction as you sighted along the slinky. If a slinky wave were an electromagnetic wave, then the vibrations of the slinky would occur in multiple planes. Unlike a usual slinky wave, the electric and magnetic vibrations of an electromagnetic wave occur in numerous planes. A light wave that is vibrating in more than one plane is referred to as unpolarized light. Light emitted by the sun, by a lamp in the classroom, or by a candle flame is unpolarized light. Such light waves are created by electric charges that vibrate in a variety of directions, thus creating an electromagnetic wave that vibrates in a variety of directions. This concept of unpolarized light is rather difficult to visualize. In general, it is helpful to picture unpolarized light as a wave that has an average of half its vibrations in a horizontal plane and half of its vibrations in a vertical plane.

 The most common method of polarization involves the use of a Polaroid filter. Polaroid filters are made of a special material that is capable of blocking one of the two planes of vibration of an electromagnetic wave. (Remember, the notion of two planes or directions of vibration is merely a simplification that helps us to visualize the wavelike nature of the electromagnetic wave.) In this sense, a Polaroid serves as a device that filters out one-half of the vibrations upon transmission of the light through the filter. When unpolarized light is transmitted through a Polaroid filter, it emerges with one-half the intensity and with vibrations in a single plane; it emerges as polarized light.

As unpolarized light travels through a polarizing filter the light intensity is reduced by 50%

For light that is already polarized that passes through another polarizing filter the intensity of the out going light can be reduced to zero depending on the angle between the polarized light and the new filter.  

Example: If unpolarized passes through a filter that is originated to 90 degrees.  The polarized light then passes through a filter that is originated at 20 degrees, the angle between the polarized light and the filter is 70 degree.