The thermo-optic coefficient ∂n/∂T has been measured from room temperature to 600 K at the wavelength of 1523 nm in three important semiconductors for fiber-optic device fabrication, namely, InP, GaAs, and 6H–SiC. The adopted technique is very simple and is based on the observation of the periodicity of the signal transmitted, at the desired wavelength, by an étalon made of the material under test, when it experiences a temperature variation. The values of ∂n/∂T measured in InP and GaAs at room temperature are in agreement with previously reported ones, but increase with temperature with a weak quadratic dependence. SiC conversely shows a lower thermo-optic coefficient (2.77×10−5 K−1) at 300 K, which, however, doubles for a 300 K temperature increase. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.