Multiphonon relaxation rate saturation is observed for rare-earth-doped glasses for high excited-state densities. This behavior is analyzed in a statistical approach; a theoretical model for the microscopic process is proposed. A phonon bottleneck effect on radiationless relaxation related to an accepting-modes saturation is suggested. At high excited-state density, ions in a phonon diffusion volume simultaneously fill the accepting modes. The critical distance below which excited ions share a common phonon bath is related to the phonon diffusion length in the host and deduced from our model. The results are in good agreement with the phonon mean free path independently deduced from sound velocity, thermal conductivity, and heat capacity.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
F. Pellé, N. Gardant, and F. Auzel, "Effect of excited-state population density on nonradiative multiphonon relaxation rates of rare-earth ions," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 15, 667-679 (1998)