The Pockels Effect and the Kerr Effect

The Electro-optic effect essentially describes the phenomena that, with an applied voltage, the refractive index of a material can be altered. The electro-optic effect lays the ground for many optical and photonic devices. One such application would be the electro-optic modulator.

If we consider a waveguide or even a lens, such as demonstrated through problems in geometrical optics, we know that the refractive index can alter the direction of propagation of a transmitted beam. A change in refractive index also changes the speed of the wave. The change of light propagation speed in a waveguide acts as phase modulation. The applied voltage is the modulated information and light is the carrier signal.

The electro-optic effect is comprised of both a linear and non-linear component. The full form of the electro-optic effect equation is as follows:


The above formula means that, with an applied voltage E, the resultant change in refractive index is comprised of the linear Pockels Effect rE and a non-linear Kerr Effect PE^2.

The Pockels Effect is dependent on the crystal structure and symmetry of the material, along with the direction of the electric field and light wave.



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