Finite element analysis of lanthanum-modified lead zirconate titanate electro-optic devices

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


Qi Wang Song



Subject Categories

Electrical and Computer Engineering


The Finite Element Method (FEM) is used to analyze Lanthanum-Modified Lead Zirconate Titanate (PLZT) based electro-optic devices. This work combines electromagnetic theory and optical theory to design and implement a computer code capable of studying various configurations of electro-optic devices that utilize quadratic electro-optic material.

The PLZT substrate has electrodes patterned on its surface, to which an external voltage distribution is applied. First the PLZT substrate is assumed to be homogenous and isotropic. FEM is used to calculate the electric field distribution internal to the PLZT substrate resulting from the externally applied voltage. Once the electric field is known within the device, the new index of refraction throughout the device is calculated. The diffraction pattern generated by the change in the index of refraction for a light wave passing through the device is determined. From this information, device performance is assessed.

To show the validity of this computer code several cases are analyzed that have been reported in the literature. First, a dynamic diverging lens is examined. Second, a programmable diffraction grating is examined. In both cases they are compared to the reported measured results. The results show this method is an accurate and efficient way of analyzing electro-optic problems.