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Transparent Ni2+-doped silicate glass ceramics for broadband nearinfrared emission

Abstract: Transparent Ni2+-doped MgOAl2O3Ga2O3SiO2TiO2 glass ceramics were fabricated. The precipitated nanocrystal phase in the glass ceramics was identified by X-ray diffraction and transmission electron microscope. Broadband near-infrared emission centered at 1220 nm with full width at half maximum of about 240 nm and lifetime of about 250 s was observed with 980 nm excitation. The longer wavelength emission compared with Ni2+-doped MgAl2O4 crystal was attributed to the low crystal field occupied by Ni2+ in the glass ceramics. Recently, great progress has been achieved in the OH elimination of silicate fibers. And as a result, the telecommunication transmission window has been extended to the rage from 1.2 to 1.7 m. In addition to the already utilized C (1.531.56 m) and L (1.56 1.65 m) bands of Er3+-doped fiber amplifier [1], some other types of fiber amplifiers such as Tm3+-doped amplifier in S (1.451.52 m) band and Pr3+-doped amplifier in O (1.26 1.36 m) band were also developed [2] and [3]. If we want to realize optical amplification in the whole telecommunication windows to meeting the urgent requirement for the optical telecommunication transmission systems with high speed and high capacity, various types of existing fiber amplifiers would be combined together, which must cause the large complexities of fiber communication systems. Therefore, the broadband amplification in the 1.21.7 m region by using only a fiber amplifier will simplify the configuration of the optical communication systems and revolutionize the optical fiber transmission. Transition metal (TM) ions such as Ni2+ and Cr4+ are important activators since they exhibit broadband near-infrared emission with high quantum efficiency in crystals [4] and [5], whereas it is difficult to draw crystals into fibers. Glasses can be easily obtained as large size bulk and also be easily drawn into fibers. Unfortunately, TM ions in glasses showed very weak even no luminescence, since nonradiative decay processes dominate the relaxations of the excited state of TM ions in glasses [6] and [7]. So it is significant to design TM ions doped matrices which can be easily fabricated into fibers and also be active hosts for TM ions. In this regard, transparent glass ceramics (GCs) are one kind of interest hosts, as the glass matrix is favorable in its capability of fiber fabrication, meanwhile nanocrystals in GCs can provide active sites for TM ions. There have several reports on Ni2+ and Cr4+ doped GCs with broadband near-infrared emission [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13] and [14]. Comparing with other TM ions such as chromium, which easily takes multivalent states, nickel always shows divalent state in almost all the hosts, so there would be no serious need to control the valent state of nickel. Ni2+-doped spinel MgAl2O4 crystals have shown potential candidate for new tunable solidstate laser materials between 1 and 1.5 m [15]. If Ni2+-doped MgAl2O4 GCs were fabricated it could be expected that they would have potential applications in broadband optical amplifiers and optical fiber lasers. Recently, we synthesized transparent Ni2+-doped MgO Al2O3SiO2TiO2 GCs. Unfortunately, the spinel MgAl2O4 phase in these GCs was the secondary phase and very small. We adjusted the compositions of the above GCs by addition of Ga2O3 and interestingly discovered that single spinel solid solution phase was precipitated in transparent Ni2+-doped MgOAl2O3Ga2O3SiO2TiO2 (MAGST) GCs. Compared with

our previous work on Ni2+-doped ZnOAl2O3SiO2 (ZAS) GCs [11], this kind of transparent GCs exhibited more intense and longer emission in the region of 10001600 nm. In this paper, optical properties of transparent Ni2+-doped MAGST GCs containing magnalium spinel solid solution with nano-size were presented. The present Ni2+-doped transparent glass ceramics may have potential applications in broadband optical amplifiers.

Keywords

Transparent glass ceramics; Infrared luminescence; Ni2+

Fig.. Near-infrared emission spectra of Ni2+-doped MAGST glass, GC and Ni2+-doped ZAS GC (doped with 0.10 mol% NiO) excited by 980 nm LD. The inset shows the emission decay curve of the Ni2+doped MAGST GC

Table 2. Optical parameters of some spinel-based Ni2+-doped transparent glass ceramics and Ni2+:MgAl2O4 crystal em (nm) FWHM (nm) Lifetime (s) LiGa5O8 GC 1300 300 583 ZnAl2O4 GC 1225 250 95 This work 1220 240 250 2+ Ni :MgAl2O4 1180 400