npsm 새물리 New Physics : Sae Mulli

pISSN 0374-4914 eISSN 2289-0041


Research Paper

New Phys.: Sae Mulli 2018; 68: 135-141

Published online January 31, 2018

Copyright © New Physics: Sae Mulli.

Investigation of the Physical Principle Behind the Dynamic Image Change of Polage Artworks

Yong Wook CHEONG*

Department of Science Education, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea


Received: October 11, 2017; Revised: November 7, 2017; Accepted: November 14, 2017

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Diverse chromatic color can be observed when white light is transmited through a polarizer-(transparent) birefringence material-polarizer stack. Polage artworks, which utilize this phenomenon, provide dynamic images. Although the basic principle of polage is well understood, detailed analyses of the expression techniques of polage and their underlying physics have seldom been investigated. This study extracts basic expression techniques of polage such as image fade-in, image fade-out, color change to a complementary color, and image conversion. Then, the related physics behind the techniques and the ways of implementing the techniques are explained. This study has educational value in that the techniques are easily implemented, the entire theoretical treatment is based on the optical concepts taught at the undergraduate level, and the techniques provide good educational opportunity for integrating physics and fine art.

Keywords: Polage, Polarization, Birefringence, Interference color

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