Date of Award

12-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Advisor

Ballato, John

Committee Member

Brown , Philip

Committee Member

Foulger , Stephen

Committee Member

Skaar , Eric

Abstract

The spectral engineering of optical fiber is a method of intentional doping of the core region in order to absorb/emit specific wavelengths of light therby providing enhanced performance over current fibers. Efforts here focused on developing an understanding of optically active nanoparticles based on alkaline earth fluorides that could be easily and homogeneously incorporated into the core of a silica based optical fiber preform and result in efficient and tailorable spectral emissions.
Doped and undoped calcium, strontium and barium fluoride nanoparticles were successfully synthesized and characterized for their physical, chemical, and optical behavior. Distinct spectroscopic differences as a result of different host materials, varying rare earth doping levels and processing conditions, indicated the ability to influence the spectral behavior of the doped nanoparticle. By using photoluminescence to predict diffusion behavior, the application of a simple one dimensional model for diffusion provided a method for predicting the diffusion coefficient of europium ions in alkaline earth fluorides with order of magnitude accuracy.
Modified chemical vapor deposition derived silica preforms were individually solution doped with europium doped alkaline earth fluoride nanoparticles. By using the rare earth doped alkaline earth fluoride nanoparticles as the dopant materials in the core of optical fiber preforms, the resultant optical properties of the glass were significantly influenced by their presence in the core. The incorporation of these rare earth doped alkaline earth fluoride nanoparticles was found to significantly influence the local chemical and structural environment about the rare earth ion, demonstrated homogeneity and uniform distribution of the rare earth dopant and resulted in specifically unique spectral behavior when compared to conventional doping methods. A more detailed structural model of the doped core glass region has been developed based on the spectral behavior of these active fiber preforms.
It has been shown that rare earth doping of alkaline earth fluoride nanoparticles provides a material which can be `tuned' to specific applications through the use of different host materials, processing conditions and doping levels of the rare earth and when used as dopant materials for active optical fibers, provides a means to tailor the optical behavior.

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