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Various embodiments of an improved electro-optic shutter are disclosed. One embodiment comprises an electro-optic element, first and second polarizers, and a pair of electrodes. The electro-optic element has opposing transverse surfaces and operates as a half wave plate when a voltage Vπ is applied to the element. The first and second polarizers are each disposed adjacent to one transverse surface of the electro-optic element. The first and second electro-optic element have parallel transmission axes. Each electrode is disposed on one of the transverse surfaces of the electro-optic element and has an electric field which is substantially uniform over the transverse extent of the electro-optic element.