This is a simulation of what happens when polarized light passes through an optically active material - that is the object labeled as the filter above. An optically active material is made up of chiral molecules - the molecules has a spiral shape. Light passing through such a material has its polarization direction rotated, but different colors are rotated different amounts.

Use the sliders to adjust the angle of the transmission axis of each polarizer. The lines after each polarizer, and after the filter, show the direction the light is polarized in. The incident light has multiple lines to show that it is unpolarized, and the light after the filter shows the different directions that red, green, and blue light is polarized in.

Simulation written by Andrew Duffy, and first posted on 1-28-2018.

Creative Commons License
This work by Andrew Duffy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
This simulation can be found in the collection at

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