Growth and investigation of optical properties of YVO4: Nd single crystals

Andrzej L. Bajor 1Krzysztof Kopczynski 2Jadwiga Mierczyk 2Jaroslaw Mlynczak 2Marek A. Swirkowicz 1Wlodzimierz Szyrski 1

1. Institute of Electronic Materials Technology (ITME), Wólczyńska 133, Warszawa 01-919, Poland
2. Military University of Technology, Institute of Optoelectronics (IOE), Kaliskiego 2, Warszawa 00-908, Poland

Abstract

Yttrium orthovanadate (YVO4) crystals have magnificent optical, thermal and physical properties. For example, it has more than three times larger birefringence compared to that of lithium niobate, and this makes it especially useful in fiber optics, polarizers, optical isolators, and beam displacers. As a host material it is potential for many lasing applications. However, to be used as optical material it needs to be optically homogeneous.

In this work we report on growth and investigation of optical homogeneity of Nd-doped YVO4. The single crystals were grown in the nitrogen atmosphere by the Czochralski method with the use of Cyberstar Oxypuller 20-04 equipment. Thermal system consisted of iridium crucible of 50 mm dia. and passive iridium afterheater of 60 mm dia. Inductive heating was used. To suppress “tail” formation, changes of temperature distribution at the interface during the growth process were decreased by lifting the crucible to compensate lowering of the melt level. As a result, good quality, [100]-oriented single crystals with Nd content from 0.3 to 3 at.% were obtained. Their diameters and lengths were up to 25 mm and 50mm, respectively.

Optical homogeneity of these crystals was determined by means of space-variated optical spectroscopy, conoscopy and plane spectro-polarimetry. In many cases we used samples in shapes of rectangular prisms oriented along the major X, Y and Z, crystallographic directions. Although a certain anisotropy could be evidenced depending on direction of observations, as might be anticipated from optical anisotropy of the crystals themselves, in general the crystals were found to be optically homogeneous and free from macroscopic defects. Sometimes, a certain optical inhomogeneity could be seen with some crystals, however, in a limited volume only. One could always find larger crystalline areas, potentially suitable for optical applications.

Lifetime measurements were also carried out on crystals doped with 0.5 at. % of Nd. This evidenced their potential use in laser techniques.

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Presentation: Poster at Joint Fith International Conference on Solid State Crystals & Eighth Polish Conference on Crystal Growth, by Marek A. Swirkowicz
See On-line Journal of Joint Fith International Conference on Solid State Crystals & Eighth Polish Conference on Crystal Growth

Submitted: 2007-01-15 15:39
Revised:   2009-06-07 00:44
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