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3 March 2020 Photonic glass ceramics based on SnO2 nanocrystals: advances and perspectives
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Proceedings Volume 11276, Optical Components and Materials XVII; 1127614 (2020)
Event: SPIE OPTO, 2020, San Francisco, California, United States
SnO2-based glass-ceramics activated by rare earth ions have been extensively investigated because of the need to develop reliable fabrication protocols and clarify some interesting optical, structural, and spectroscopic features of the system. There is one important weakness in glass photonics when the rare earth ions are employed as luminescent sources. This is the low absorption cross section of the electronic states of the rare earth ions. A sensitizer is therefore requested. In the last years, we demonstrated that SiO2-SnO2 glass ceramics, presenting a strong absorption cross section in the UV range due to the SnO2 nanocrystal, are effective rare earth ions sensitizers. Another interesting property of the SiO2-SnO2 system is its photorefractivity. The high photorefractivity of sol-gel-derived SnO2-SiO2 glass-ceramic waveguides has been demonstrated in several papers published by our consortium. It has been shown that the UV irradiation induces refractive index change allowing the direct writing of both channel waveguides and Bragg gratings.

The results presented in this communication not only demonstrate the viability and outstanding properties of the SiO2- SnO2 glass-ceramics for photonic applications but also put the basis for the fabrication of solid state and integrated lasers. The next steps of the research are the fabrication of the channels and mirrors exploiting the photorefractivity as well as to draw glass ceramic fiber, checking the lasing action and corresponding functional characteristics. Finally, it is worth noting that the dynamic of the energy transfer from the nanocrystals to the rare earth ions is still an exciting open question.
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