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1. The state of electromagnetic radiation when transverse vibrations take place in some regular manner, e.g., all in one plane, in a circle, in an ellipse, or in some other definite curve. </dd>
Radiation may become polarized because of the nature of its emitting source, as is the case with many types of radar antennas, or because of some processes to which it is subjected after leaving its source, as that which results from the scattering of solar radiation as it passes through the earth's atmosphere. </dd>
2. With respect to particles in an electric field, the displacement of the charge centers within a particle in response to the electric force acting thereon. See polarizability. </dd>
3. The response of the molecules of a paramagnetic medium (such as iron) when subjected to a magnetic field. </dd>
A right-handed polarized wave is defined as one receding from the observer and radiated by an electric vector rotating clockwise in a fixed plane that is in front of the observer and at right angles to the direction of propagation of the wave in question. Left-handed polarization is the rotation in a counter-clockwise manner. This recommended definition of circular (or elliptical) polarization sense is according to that of the Institute of Radio Engineers. The definition of classical physics is exactly the opposite. [[/a>|/a> ]]


This article is based on NASA's Dictionary of Technical Terms for Aerospace Use