What is a Pockels Cell?
A Pockels cell is an electro-optic device that is used to control the polarization of light. It is named after Friedrich Carl Alwin Pockels, a German physicist who discovered the electro-optic effect in 1893. Pockels cells are widely used in various scientific and industrial applications, such as laser technology, telecommunications, and optical data storage.
How does a Pockels Cell work?
A Pockels cell consists of a crystal that exhibits the electro-optic effect, such as lithium niobate or potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KDP). When an electric field is applied to the crystal, it changes its refractive index, which in turn affects the polarization of the light passing through it. By controlling the strength and direction of the electric field, one can manipulate the polarization of the light as desired.
Applications of Pockels Cells
Pockels cells are used in a wide range of scientific and industrial applications. In laser technology, Pockels cells are used to control the pulse duration and intensity of high-power lasers. They are also used in telecommunications to modulate the phase and frequency of optical signals. Pockels cells are also used in optical data storage to read and write information on optical media.
Example of Pockels Cell in Use
One example of a Pockels cell in use is in optical modulators. Optical modulators are devices that modulate the intensity, phase, or polarization of light. They are widely used in telecommunications and optical data storage. Pockels cells can be used as electro-optic modulators, which allow for fast and precise modulation of the polarization of light. This makes them an essential component in high-speed optical communication systems.