Er3+-doped Multicomponent Silicate Glass Planar Waveguides Prepared by Sol-Gel Processing

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Erbium doped silica-titania planar waveguides, co-doped with ytterbium and aluminum, have been prepared by sol-gel processing, using multilayer spin-coating deposition on silicon or silica glass substrates. The Er3+ doping level varied between 0 and 2 at.%, while Yb3+ varied from 0 to 3 at.%. Aluminum was incorporated up to 15 at.% Al and it was found to have no significant effect on the refractive index of the silica-titania (80: 20 mol%) matrix. The Er3+ fluorescence emission was flat within ±0.5 dB, between 1520 and 1560 nm. The corresponding 4I13/2 metastable level lifetime was found to decrease from 6.1 to 3.5 ms, as the Er concentration increased from 0.1 to 0.5 at.%, for films co-doped with 0.5 at.% Yb and 10 at.% Al and the fluorescence decay was essentially single exponential below a Er quenching concentration of 0.5 at.% (1.1 × 1020 ions/cm3). The lifetime appears to be limited by Er-Er interactions at higher rare-earth ion concentrations and by residual OH species in the sol-gel derived waveguides. Vacuum heat treatment at a temperature near 570°C was somewhat effective in increasing the Er fluorescence lifetime, whereas reactive atmosphere processing in CCl4 or Cl2 at a similar temperature appeared to be less effective.

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