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Solid with Varying Refractive Index

  1. Apr 16, 2006 #1
    Can someone please help me out?

    I was wondering whether or not there is a solid (i'm thinking a form of silicon) That is transparent and when an electric charge of some kind is passed through it it's refractive index changes

    There was an article in new scientist about this along time ago

    Please post any ideas or comments about replicating this experiment and the material i'm thinking of
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2006 #2
    Yes, it exists. There is two types of effects that change the refractive index of a material under a electric field: Pockels effet and Kerr effect.

    Pockels effect is linked with second-order nonlinear effects, so the materials that can show this effect are non-centrosymmetric nonlinear crystals (KDP, KTP, lithium niobate). In this effect, the change in refractive index is linear with the field. I am not a specialist of this effect, but you can find a lot of informations on the web about Pockels cells.

    Kerr effect is a third order nonlinear effect, so the change in refractive index is quadratic with the field. I don't know the materials for static Kerr effect (change of refractive index due to an applied low frequency electrical field). But for optical kerr effects, glass (optical fibers), or semiconductors can exhibit efficient Kerr effect.
  4. Apr 17, 2006 #3
    Thanks for your help
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