Kerr electro-optic effect

      in physics, the inducement of double refraction of light in a transparent substance when a strong electric field is applied in a direction transverse to the beam of light. In double refraction, the index of refraction (a measure of the amount the ray is bent on entering the material), and hence the wave velocity of light vibrating in the direction of the electric field, is slightly different from the index of refraction of the vibration perpendicular to it. Optically, the substance behaves like a crystal with its optic axis parallel to the electric field. This effect was discovered in the latter part of the 19th century by a Scottish physicist, John Kerr. The same behaviour in solids is sometimes called the Pockels effect.

 The Kerr cell, also referred to as a Kerr electro-optical shutter, is a device employing the Kerr effect to interrupt a beam of light up to 1010 times per second. Linearly polarized light (light vibrating in one plane, as shown in the Figure—>) is passed through a liquid, such as nitrobenzene, contained in a cell with transparent walls. The beam of light is intercepted by another polarizer (analyzer in this case) set at 90° to the plane of polarization. When an electric potential is placed across two plates straddling the light beam at 45° with respect to the plane of polarization, the plane-polarized light is resolved into two components parallel and perpendicular to the electric field. The light beam emerges from the cell circularly polarized because the two components travel with different speeds and thus have a phase difference. Consequently, the beam will be partially transmitted by the analyzer. The Kerr cell has been employed in the photography of transient phenomena, in measuring the speed of light, and is useful in laser and communication studies.
 

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Electro-optic effect — An electro optic effect is a change in the optical properties of a material in response to an electric field that varies slowly compared with the frequency of light. The term encompasses a number of distinct phenomena, which can be subdivided… …   Wikipedia

  • electro-optic — adjective or electro optical 1. a. : relating to or being a change in the refractive index of a material due to an electric field electro optic effect b. : using or being a material that exhibits electro optic properties an electro optic crystal …   Useful english dictionary

  • Kerr effect — This article is about the Kerr nonlinear optical effect. For the magneto optic phenomenon of the same name, see magneto optic Kerr effect. The Kerr effect, also called the quadratic electro optic effect (QEO effect), is a change in the refractive …   Wikipedia

  • Kerr — may refer to:Places*Kerr, Montana, A US census designated place *Kerr County, Texas, USAOther uses*Alief Kerr High School, a public magnet school in Houston, Texas, USA *Dick, Kerr Co., locomotive manufacturer based in Scotland and England **… …   Wikipedia

  • Electro-optics — is a branch of technology 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… …   Wikipedia

  • Électro-optique — Effet électro optique Un effet électro optique correspond à une modification de la propagation d une onde électromagnétique dans un matériau. Cette modification est due à la présence d un champ électrique quasi statique. Ce terme couvre un… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • electro-optical — adjective see electro optic * * * electro opˈtic or electro opˈtical adjective (electro optical effect see ↑Kerr effect) • • • Main Entry: ↑electro …   Useful english dictionary

  • John Kerr (physicist) — Rev. John Kerr (December 17, 1824 ndash; August 15,1907) was a Scottish physicist who inaugurated the field of electro optics.LifeBorn in Ardrossan to a fish merchant, Kerr attended the University of Glasgow from where he earned a master s degree …   Wikipedia

  • Pockels effect — The Pockels effect, or Pockels electro optic effect, produces birefringence in an optical medium induced by a constant or varying electric field. It is distinguished from the Kerr effect by the fact that the birefringence is proportional to the… …   Wikipedia

  • Effet électro-optique — Un effet électro optique correspond à une modification de la propagation d une onde électromagnétique dans un matériau. Cette modification est due à la présence d un champ électrique quasi statique. Ce terme couvre un certain nombre de phénomènes …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.