18 June 2013 Enhanced processability of ZrF4-BaF2-LaF3-AlF3-NaF glass in microgravity
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Abstract
Fluorozirconate glasses, such as ZBLAN (ZrF4-BaF2-LaF3-AlF3-NaF), have the potential for optical transmission from 0.3 μm in the UV to 7 μm in the IR region. However, crystallites formed during the fiber drawing process prevent this glass from achieving its desired transmission range. The temperature at which the glass can be drawn into a fiber is known as the working range, defined as (Tx - Tg), bounded by the glass transition temperature (Tg) and the crystallization temperature (Tx). In contrast to silica glasses, the working temperature range for ZBLAN glass is extremely narrow. Multiple ZBLAN samples were subject to a heating and quenching test apparatus on the parabolic aircraft, under a controlled 0-g and hyper-g environment and compared with 1-g ground tests. The microgravity duration on board Zero-G Corporation parabolic aircraft is approximately 20 seconds and the hyper-g intervals are approximately 56 seconds. Optical microscopy examination elucidates crystal growth in ZBLAN is suppressed when processed in a microgravity environment. The crystallization temperature, Tx, at which crystals form increased, therefore, significantly broadening the working temperature range for ZBLAN.
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Anthony Torres, Jeff Ganley, Arup Maji, Dennis Tucker, Dmitry Starodubov, "Enhanced processability of ZrF4-BaF2-LaF3-AlF3-NaF glass in microgravity", Proc. SPIE 8704, Infrared Technology and Applications XXXIX, 87042C (18 June 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2018308; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2018308
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