in physics, the rotation of the
plane of polarization (plane of vibration) of a light beam by a
magnetic field. Michael
Faraday, an English scientist, first observed the effect in
1845 when studying the influence of a magnetic field on plane-polarized
light waves. (Light waves vibrate in two planes at right angles to one
another, and passing ordinary light through certain substances eliminates
the vibration in one plane.) He discovered that the plane of vibration is
rotated when the light path and the direction of the applied magnetic
field are parallel. The Faraday effect occurs in many solids,
liquids, and gases. The magnitude of the rotation depends upon the
strength of the magnetic field, the nature of the transmitting substance,
and Verdet's constant, which is a property of the transmitting substance,
its temperature, and the frequency of the light. The direction of rotation
is the same as the direction of current flow in the wire of the
electromagnet, and therefore if the same beam of light is reflected back
and forth through the medium, its rotation is increased each time.
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Faraday effect (phys.)
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