One key parameter in the race toward ever-higher power fiber lasers remains the rare earth doped optical core quality. Modern Large Mode Area (LMA) fibers require a fine radial control of the core refractive index (RI) close to the silica level. These low RI are achieved with multi-component materials that cannot be readily obtained using conventional solution doping based Modified Chemical Vapor Deposition (MCVD) technology. This paper presents a study of such optical material obtained through a full-vapor phase Surface Plasma Chemical Vapor Deposition (SPCVD). The SPCVD process generates straight glassy films on the inner surface of a thermally regulated synthetic silica tube under vacuum. The first part of the presented results points out the feasibility of ytterbium-doped aluminosilicate fibers by this process. In the second part we describe the challenge controlling the refractive index throughout the core diameter when using volatile fluorine to create efficient LMA fiber profiles. It has been demonstrated that it is possible to counter-act the loss of fluorine at the center of the core by adjusting the core composition locally. Our materials yielded, when used in optical fibers with numerical apertures ranging from 0.07 to 0.09, power conversion efficiency up to 76% and low background losses below 20 dB/km at 1100nm. Photodarkening has been measured to be similar to equivalent MCVD based fibers. The use of cerium as a co-dopant allowed for a complete mitigation of this laser lifetime detrimental effect. The SPCVD process enables high capacity preforms and is particularly versatile when it comes to radial tailoring of both rare earth doping level and RI. Large core diameter preforms - up to 4mm - were successfully produced.
A. Barnini, T. Robin, B. Cadier, G. Aka, D. Caurant, T. Gotter, C. Guyon, E. Pinsard, P. Guitton, A. Laurent, and R. Montron, "Rare-earth-doped optical-fiber core deposition using full vapor-phase SPCVD process," Proc. SPIE 10100, Optical Components and Materials XIV, 101000D (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 31, 2017; Published: 16 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2252448.
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