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Not to be confused with optoelectronics.

Electro-optics is a branch of electrical physics and materials science involving components, devices and systems which operate by modification of the optical properties of a material by an electric field. Thus it concerns the interaction between the electromagnetic (optical) and the electrical (electronic) states of materials.

Electro-optical devices[edit]

The electro-optic effect relates to a change in the optical properties of the medium, which is usually a change in the birefringence, and not simply the refractive index. In a Kerr cell, the change in birefringence is proportional to the square of the electric field, and the material is usually a liquid. In a Pockels cell, the change in birefringence varies linearly with the electric field, and the material is a crystal. Non-crystalline, solid electro-optical materials have caught interest because of their low cost of production. These organic, polymer-based materials are also known as organic EO material, plastic EO material, or polymer EO material. They consist of nonlinear optical chromophores in a polymer lattice. The nonlinear optical chromophores produce Pockel's effect.


  • Friedman, Edward (2004). Photonics Rules of Thumb: Optics, Electro-optics, Fiber Optics, and Lasers. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 0-07-138519-3. 

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