How do polarized sunglasses work?


How do polarized sunglasses work?

In: Technology


Light has a couple of characteristics. As you know, it has a wavelength (and a correlated frequency) and an amplitude.

Light also has a *polarization,* which can be thought of as the amount of “twist” the wave has. If you picture a wave of light coming straight at you, with the peaks and troughs going straight up and down, you could call that polarization zero degrees. If you take the peaks and troughs and imagine them flopped over on their side, so that they’re going left and right, you could call that ninety degrees. You can have arbitrary degrees of polarization. (Before physicists come and yell at me, yes, I’m simplifying.)

Polarized sunglasses are made with a special coating that blocks certain polarizations of light, to reduce the amount of light and glare that hits your eye.