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Si nanocrystals and erbium co-doped glasses for optical amplifiers

Elisabetta Borsella 

INFM - Universita di Padova, via Marzolo, 8, Padova 35131, Italy
ENEA, via E. Fermi, 45, Frascati 00044, Italy


The rapid development of optical telecommunications leads to a strong demand in low cost basic components to facilitate the deployment of the networks. A considerable effort is focused on Er-doped planar amplifiers (EDWAs) with the aim to solve the manufacturing and cost/performance issues. The SINERGIA(Si nanocrystals and erbium co-doped glasses for optical amplifiers )Project addresses the material and technological issues related to increase the optical gain per unit length of Er-doped silica (SO) and specific glasses (SG) for the realization of highly performing EDWAs, together with the exploration of extension to EDFAs (Er-doped fiber amplifiers). The technological approach concerns the co-doping of SO and SG with Er and Si nanocrystals (Si-nc).and is based on the observation of more than two orders of magnitude enhancement in the intensity of the 1.54 mm emission of Er3+ when this element is co-doped in dielectrics with Si-nc. An enhancement of more than three orders of magnitude of the effective Er absorption cross section (seff) is also observed in these systems. The seff value is comparable to that of the excitation cross section of the Si nc at the same wavelength (0.46 mm), suggesting a strong interaction between Si-nc and Er ions, leading to an efficient energy transfer from the Si-nc to the Er ions. The enrichment of silica host with Si nc increases its refractive index and consequently the index contrast with the cladding pure silica layer. This could result in small optical-mode dimensions and bending radius. A determining advantage is lying in the indirect excitation of Er ions, i.e. through the interaction with nc Si, by using a broad-band pumping source of low cost, instead of expensive lasers with pumping wavelenghts adequate for the narrow absorption bands of Er ions at 0.98 and 1.48 mm.
First consolidated results will be presented both on the modelling and on the implementation of synthesis routes and performance of co-doped glasses.


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Presentation: invited oral at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2003, Symposium F, by Elisabetta Borsella
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2003

Submitted: 2003-07-02 11:33
Revised:   2009-06-08 12:55