What is anisotropic?

What Does anisotropic Mean

The adjective anisotropic is used in the field of physics to describe the body or the substance that, according to the direction in which it is analyzed, has different physical properties . An anisotropic element, in this way, differs from an isotropic one , whose physical properties are identical in all directions.

In anisotropes, temperature , elasticity, and conductivity , among other properties, change according to the direction in which they are examined. As long as a physical property is able to be represented through a tensor magnitude, it can show anisotropic behavior.

To know the symmetry that a property has, mathematical groups are used . In this way, a subgroup that is part of a rotational symmetry group allows us to characterize the class of anisotropy that a certain property has.
If the property does not vary under the influence of the group of rotations in three-dimensional space, it has no anisotropy. On the contrary, it can be said that it presents isotropy .
Anisotropy is usually examined in the field of optics . When there is an anisotropic medium, changes are recorded in the refractive indices : light, in this framework, is transmitted at different speeds depending on the directions considered. There is thus a range of refractive indices.
The anisotropic medium, on the other hand, produces a double refraction . This is due to the fact that the light with incidence perpendicular to the surface is divided into two rays, which move through the medium with different paths and different speeds.

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