6H30.45 - Polarization - Quartz

See paragraph one in the procedure section.
Code Number:
Demo Title:
Polarization - Quartz
Circular Polarization
Area of Study:
Quartz plates with marked thickness and Right or Left hand polarization.

Place the plates between crossed Polaroids.  Note that there are two set of plates with the same thicknesses, one left handed and one right handed.  Rotate one polarizer and observe the colors.

  • G.R. Davies, "Display of Interference in Highly Convergent Linearly Polarized White Light", AJP, Vol. 50, # 11, Nov. 1982, p. 1050.
  • L-131:  Richard Manliffe Sutton, Demonstration Experiments in Physics.
  • Wikipedia - Optical Rotation
  • Wikipedia - Quartz
  • Wikipedia - Rotary Polarization

Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.