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Page:Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Vol 60.djvu/468

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436
On the Selective Conductivity of Polarising Substances.

It should, however, be borne in mind that the selective absorption exhibited by a substance depends, also, on the vibration frequency of the incident radiation. I have drawn attention to the peculiarity of tourmaline which does not exhibit double absorption of the electric ray to a very great extent. The specimen I experimented with is, however, one of a black variety of tourmaline, and not of the semi-transparent kind generally used for optical work.

Though the experiments already described are not sufficiently numerous for drawing a general conclusion as to the connection between double absorption attended with polarisation, and double conductivity, there is, however, a large number of experiments I have carried out which seem to show that a double-conducting structure does, as a rule, exhibit double absorption and consequent polarisation. Out of these experiments I shall here mention one which may prove interesting. Observing that an ordinary book is unequally conducting in the two directions—parallel to and across the pages—I interposed it, with its edge at 45°, between the crossed polariser and analyzer of an electro-polariscope. The extinguished field of radiation was immediately restored. I then arranged both the polariser and the analyzer vertical and parallel, and interposed the book with its edge parallel to the direction of electric vibration. The radiation was found completely absorbed by the book, and there was not the slightest action on the receiver. On holding the book with its edge at right angles to the electric vibration, the electric ray was found copiously transmitted. An ordinary book would thus serve as a perfect polariser of the electric ray. The vibrations parallel to the pages are completely absorbed, and those at right angles transmitted in a perfectly polarised condition.—January 28, 1897.]