Electro-optics is a branch of electrical engineering 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.
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.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the General Services Administration document "Federal Standard 1037C" (in support of MIL-STD-188).
- This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of Defense document "Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms".
- Friedman, Edward (2004). Photonics Rules of Thumb: Optics, Electro-optics, Fiber Optics, and Lasers. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 0-07-138519-3.
- Introduction to Electro-Optical Systems in Unmanned Vehicle Applications - Unmanned Systems Technology