I am trying to find out liquids that would change their refractive index with applied electromagnetic field. Do they exist? I cannot seem to find a lot of research on it.

A super basic example is water with salt and when EM field applied change of ion positions in the water result in a refractive index change. Probably this is a bad example but I am looking for good ones. Particularly, I am wondering why people didn't implement liquid lenses that can change their index in a matter of nSecs.

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    $\begingroup$ Look up Kerr Medium, Pockels effect, Faraday rotation (and other forms of gyroelectromagnetism). The field of nonlinear optics is wholly about the modulation of refractive index of the medium by a propagating electromagnetic material, and thus an effect on its own propagation. Green tea has a famously high Kerr constant and was widely used in early nonlinear optics experiments. $\endgroup$ – WetSavannaAnimal Apr 1 '15 at 7:15
  • $\begingroup$ Could you comment more on the green tea please? It sounds fascinating $\endgroup$ – user56903 Apr 1 '15 at 8:14
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't the problem with these 2nd order effects such as Kerr is you need hundreds of volts for a small effect? Liquid crystals molecules don't change refractive index themselves but they reorientate resulting in a refractive index change for the bulk material. $\endgroup$ – docPhil Apr 1 '15 at 9:01

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