Electro-optics is a branch of electrical engineering and material physics involving components, devices (e.g. Lasers, LEDs, waveguides etc.) and systems which operate by the propagation and interaction of light with various tailored materials. It is essentially the same as what is popularly described today as photonics. It is not only concerned with the "Electro-Optic effect". 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.