In present paper, we represent a study on the effect of RE dopants (lanthanum, erbium, ytterbium, and neodymium) on the process of the photo-thermo-induced (PTI) crystallization. During this work, we investigated each step of the PTI crystallization process including silver particle formation, growth of shell and nanocrystal. To perform these observations, we reduced the temperature of thermal treatment below the glass transition temperature to slow down all processes inside the glass. We found out that the silver nanoparticles formation process does not depend from the concentration of RE ions and is the same as in case of the parent PTR glass. In other hand the growth kinetics of AgBr-NaBr shell and NaF nanocrystals differ from the parent glass and depend on RE concentration. Our observations show no difference in final position of plasmon resonance, which means that the PTI crystallization process itself stays the same and is not affected by the RE dopants. Further study shows that utmost achievable refractive index change falls off with rare earth dopant concentration increase mainly due to the bond formed between dopant and fluorine. This bond prevents fluorine from participation in crystallization process thus overall volume fraction of the crystalline phase decreases. This effect can be corrected by addition of fluorine in the chemical composition of the glass at the synthesis. In conclusion, we show that refractive index change in doped glass with appropriate concentration of additional fluorine is same as in the parent glass (1500 ppm).
N. V. Nikonorov, S. A. Ivanov, D. A. Kozlova, and I. S. Pichugin, "Effect of rare-earth-dopants on Bragg gratings recording in PTR glasses," Proc. SPIE 10233, Holography: Advances and Modern Trends V, 102330P (Presented at SPIE Optics + Optoelectronics: April 26, 2017; Published: 15 May 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2265716.
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