We report a measurement of the effective refractive index of a nematic liquid crystal (NLC) inside a Fabry-Perot (FP) etalon according to the applied electric fields. The effective refractive index of the NLC depends on the intensity of the applied electric field. A wavelength-swept laser with a polygon-scanner-based wavelength filter is used as a wide-band optical source to measure the effective refractive index of the NLC. The bandwidth of the optical source is greater than 90 nm around 1300 nm. The fabricated NLC FP etalon consists of glass substrates, gold layers as the electrodes with highly reflective surfaces, polyimide layers as the planar alignment layers, and an LC layer. Furthermore, we measured the Freedericksz transition voltages for three types of NLC FP etalons having thicknesses of <TEX>$30.6{\mu}m$</TEX>, <TEX>$55.4{\mu}m$</TEX>, and <TEX>$108.8{\mu}m$</TEX>. The Freedericksz transition voltages in the three cases are nearly equal. The measured effective refractive indices in the three cases decreased from 1.67 to 1.51 as the applied electric field intensity was increased. Beyond the threshold electric field, the effective refractive indices quickly decreased and eventually saturated at a value of 1.51 for all cases.

© 2015 Optical Society of Korea

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