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Photonics Dictionary

Kerr cell

A cell filled with a transparent material that, when placed in a strong electrical field, exhibits double refraction. Since the two polarized elements of an incident light beam travel at different phase velocities in the medium, this device can rotate the plane of polarization. When placed between crossed Nicol prisms, the Kerr cell, usually containing nitrobenzene, can act as a very fast shutter for light beams.
 
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