In this study, both the linear intersubband transitions and the refractive index changes in coupled double quantum well (DQW) with different well shapes for different electric fields are theoretically calculated within framework of the effective mass approximation. Results obtained show that intersubband transitions and the energy levels in coupled DQW can importantly be modified and controlled by the electric field strength and direction. By considering the variation of the energy differences, it should point out that by varying electric field we can obtain a blue or red shift in the intersubband optical transitions. The modulation of the absorption coefficients and the refractive index changes which can be suitable for good performance optical modulators and various infrared optical device applications can be easy obtained by tuning applied electric field strength and direction. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.