Polarization rotation, reference frames, and Mach's principle

Aharon Brodutch*, Daniel R. Terno

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Polarization of light rotates in a gravitational field. The accrued phase is operationally meaningful only with respect to a local polarization basis. In stationary space-times, we construct local reference frames that allow us to isolate the Machian gravimagnetic effect from the geodetic (mass) contribution to the rotation. The Machian effect is supplemented by the geometric term that arises from the choice of standard polarizations. The phase accrued along a close trajectory is gauge-independent and is zero in the Schwarzschild space-time. The geometric term may give a dominant contribution to the phase. We calculate polarization rotation for several trajectories and find it to be more significant than is usually believed, pointing to its possible role as a future gravity probe.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121501
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

Brodutch, A. & Terno, DR, Physical review D. Particles, fields, gravitation, and cosmology, 84(12), 121501(R), 2011. Copyright 2011 by the American Physical Society. The original article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevD.84.121501.


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