The energy exchange processes within Er3+–Yb3+-codoped silica fibers manufactured for high-power optical amplifiers are investigated through luminescent decay measurements and rate-equation modeling. The Er3+ and Yb3+ luminescence, as functions of pump power, exhibit an unquenchable Yb3+ to Er3+ cooperative energy transfer (CET) that does not subside with saturation of the Er3+ inversion. Consistent with the experimental results is the occurrence of secondary energy transfer to excited Er3+ ions in their metastable 4I13/2 state. The transfer coefficient for this secondary 4I13/2 CET is determined to be of the same order of magnitude as that for the initial Yb3+ to ground-state Er3+ CET. Additionally, the decay measurements and modeling indicate that a fraction of Yb3+ ions does not participate in energy exchange with the Er3+. These nonparticipatory Yb3+ ions amounted to ~15% of the total Yb3+ concentration and could constitute Yb3+ clusters. Both secondary CET and nonparticipatory Yb3+ will lower Er3+–Yb3+ fiber amplifier efficiencies.
© 2004 Optical Society of America
(060.2270) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber characterization
(060.2320) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fiber optics amplifiers and oscillators
(060.2410) Fiber optics and optical communications : Fibers, erbium
(160.5690) Materials : Rare-earth-doped materials
George A. Sefler, W. Daniel Mack, George C. Valley, and Todd S. Rose, "Secondary energy transfer and nonparticipatory Yb3+ ions in Er3+-Yb3+ high-power amplifier fibers," J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 21, 1740-1748 (2004)