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Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

| EXPLORING THE INTERFACE OF LIGHT AND BIOMEDICINE

  • Editor: Gregory W. Faris
  • Vol. 2, Iss. 8 — Aug. 10, 2007
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Thermal lens study of energy transfer in Yb3+/Tm3+-co-doped glasses

C. Jacinto, M. V. D. Vermelho, M. T. de Araujo, P. T. Udo, N. G. C. Astrath, A. C. Bento, T. Catunda, and M. L. Baesso  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 15, Issue 15, pp. 9232-9238 (2007)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.15.009232


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Abstract

Energy transfer (ET) and heat generation processes in Yb3+/Tm3+-co-doped low-silica calcium-aluminosilicate glasses were investigated using thermal lens and photoluminescence measurements. Stepwise ET processes from Yb3+ to Tm3+, with excitation at 0.976µm, produced efficient emission in the mid-infrared range at around 1.8µm, with high fluorescence quantum efficiency (~0.50) and relatively low thermal loading (≤0.42). An equation was deduced for the description of the thermal lens results which provided the absolute value of the ET efficiency and optimal Tm3+ concentration that result in population of the 1.8µm Tm3+ emitting level. These results suggest that the studied co-doped system would be a promising candidate for the construction of high-power diode-pumped solid-state lasers in the mid-infrared range, which are especially important for the purpose of medical procedures.

© 2007 Optical Society of America

1. Introduction

There has been a growing interest in the application of diode-pumped solid-state lasers that operate in the mid-infrared spectral region in several areas; such as atmospheric sensing, laser radar and medical procedures, etc [1

1. L. E. Batay, A. A. Demidovich, A. N. Kuzmin, A. N. Titov, M. Mond, and S. Kuck, “Efficient tunable laser operation of diode-pumped Yb,Tm:KY(WO4)2 around 1.9 µm,” Appl. Phys. B 75, 457–461 (2002). [CrossRef]

, 2

2. D. Y. Shen, J. K. Sahu, and W. A. Clarkson, “High-power widely tunable Tm:fibre lasers pumped by an Er,Yb co-doped fibre laser at 1.6 µm,” Opt. Express 14, 6084 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. As a consequence of the strong optical absorption coefficient of water in this wavelength region, these devices produce minimal thermal damage to tissues, which gives them an advantage over conventional surgical procedures [1

1. L. E. Batay, A. A. Demidovich, A. N. Kuzmin, A. N. Titov, M. Mond, and S. Kuck, “Efficient tunable laser operation of diode-pumped Yb,Tm:KY(WO4)2 around 1.9 µm,” Appl. Phys. B 75, 457–461 (2002). [CrossRef]

,2

2. D. Y. Shen, J. K. Sahu, and W. A. Clarkson, “High-power widely tunable Tm:fibre lasers pumped by an Er,Yb co-doped fibre laser at 1.6 µm,” Opt. Express 14, 6084 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

]. Tm3+ doped materials are appropriate systems for generating such laser emissions. For example, Wu et al. [3

3. J. F. Wu, S. B. Jiang, T. Qua, M. Kuwata-Gonokami, and N. Peyghambarian, “2 µm lasing from highly thulium doped tellurite glass microsphere,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 87, 211118 (2005). [CrossRef]

] developed a single-mode laser of 2 µm from a highly thulium-doped telluride-glass microsphere, and Galzerano et al. [4

4. G. Galzerano, F. Cornacchia, D. Parisi, A. Toncelli, and M. Tonelli, “Widely tunable 1.94 µm Tm : BaY2F8 laser,” Opt. Lett. 30, 854–856 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

] developed a tunable laser of thulium-doped BaY2F8 crystal that operates at room temperature with an emission in a spectral interval of 210 nm, from 1.849 to 2.059 µm.

Recently, Oliveira et al. [5

5. S. L. Oliveira, S. M. Lima, T. Catunda, L. A. O. Nunes, J. H. Rohling, A. C. Bento, and M. L. Baesso, “High fluorescence quantum efficiency of 1.8 µm emission in Tm-doped low silica calcium aluminate glass determined by thermal lens spectrometry,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 359–361 (2004). [CrossRef]

] demonstrated that Tm3+ doped Low-Silica Calcium Aluminosilicate (LSCAS) glass generates an efficient emission of around 1.8 µm when excited with a commercially available high-power diode-laser wavelength of 0.79 µm. It was also demonstrated in this paper that LSCAS samples doped with 4 or 5 wt. % Tm2O3 produced more efficient emissions at 1.8 µm compared to near-infrared and visible emissions at around 0.8 and 0.48 µm, respectively. Additionally, it was shown that heat generation for excitation at 1.09 and 0.79 µm was similar, despite the fact that excitation at 0.79 µm resulted in a higher quantum defect for emission at 1.8 µm. This lower heat generation was attributed to the cross-relaxation (CR) mechanisms between the doping ions [5

5. S. L. Oliveira, S. M. Lima, T. Catunda, L. A. O. Nunes, J. H. Rohling, A. C. Bento, and M. L. Baesso, “High fluorescence quantum efficiency of 1.8 µm emission in Tm-doped low silica calcium aluminate glass determined by thermal lens spectrometry,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 359–361 (2004). [CrossRef]

]. These results brought new prospects for mid-infrared emission from glass matrices, because LSCAS combines the superior thermo-mechanical properties of an oxide glass with a phonon energy of the order of 800 cm-1, an intermediate value compared to silicates (~1100 cm-1) and non-oxide glasses (~500 cm-1) [6

6. C. Jacinto, D. N. Messias, A. A. Andrade, S. M. Lima, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, “Thermal lens and Z-scan measurements: Thermal and optical properties of laser glasses - A review,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 352, 3582–3597 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. These characteristics, allied to the procedure of removing the OH- molecules from the glass structure by melting the samples under vacuum conditions, have resulted in glasses with high emission rates, as seen for (Yb3+/Er3+) co-doped samples with efficient emissions at 2.8 µm [7

7. D. F. de Sousa, L. F. C. Zonetti, M. J. V. Bell, J. A. Sampaio, L. A. O. Nunes, M. L. Baesso, A. C. Bento, and L. C. M. Miranda, “On the observation of 2.8 µm emission from diode-pumped Er3+- and Yb3+-doped low silica calcium aluminate glasses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 74, 908–910 (1999). [CrossRef]

], as well as Nd3+ doped glasses with emissions at 1.077 µm [8

8. D. F. De Sousa, L. A. O. Nunes, J. H. Rohling, and M. L. Baesso, “Laser emission at 1077 nm in Nd3+-doped calcium aluminosilicate glass,” Appl. Phys. B 77, 59–63 (2003). [CrossRef]

]. However, several issues must be considered when Tm3+ doped materials are designed for efficient emission at 1.8 µm. For instance, when the concentration is increased to improve the CR mechanism and the optical absorption coefficient at the excitation wavelength, other processes arise, reducing the lifetime and thus the fluorescence quantum efficiency of the 3F4- emitting level and compromising the performance of the system. For this reason, alternative schemas that can enhance emissions at 1.8 µm are desirable.

The 3F4 level of Tm3+ can also be populated, taking advantage of energy-transfer (ET) processes by using sensitizer ions. Energy-transfer mechanisms among rare-earth (RE) ions are known to favor luminescence emission-reducing laser thresholds and to enhance amplifier gains [9

9. C. J. da Silva, M. T. de Araujo, E. A. Gouveia, and A. S. Gouveia-Neto, “Fourfold output power enhancement and threshold reduction through thermal effects in an Er3+/Yb3+-codoped optical fiber laser excited at 1.064 µm,” Opt. Lett. 24, 1287–1289 (1999). [CrossRef]

]. Several materials and special glasses doped with RE ions have frequently been investigated, with the aim of using them in lasers, optical amplifiers, and frequency converters, with ET as the main mechanism [1

1. L. E. Batay, A. A. Demidovich, A. N. Kuzmin, A. N. Titov, M. Mond, and S. Kuck, “Efficient tunable laser operation of diode-pumped Yb,Tm:KY(WO4)2 around 1.9 µm,” Appl. Phys. B 75, 457–461 (2002). [CrossRef]

, 5

5. S. L. Oliveira, S. M. Lima, T. Catunda, L. A. O. Nunes, J. H. Rohling, A. C. Bento, and M. L. Baesso, “High fluorescence quantum efficiency of 1.8 µm emission in Tm-doped low silica calcium aluminate glass determined by thermal lens spectrometry,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 359–361 (2004). [CrossRef]

, 7

7. D. F. de Sousa, L. F. C. Zonetti, M. J. V. Bell, J. A. Sampaio, L. A. O. Nunes, M. L. Baesso, A. C. Bento, and L. C. M. Miranda, “On the observation of 2.8 µm emission from diode-pumped Er3+- and Yb3+-doped low silica calcium aluminate glasses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 74, 908–910 (1999). [CrossRef]

, 9

9. C. J. da Silva, M. T. de Araujo, E. A. Gouveia, and A. S. Gouveia-Neto, “Fourfold output power enhancement and threshold reduction through thermal effects in an Er3+/Yb3+-codoped optical fiber laser excited at 1.064 µm,” Opt. Lett. 24, 1287–1289 (1999). [CrossRef]

]. In particular, Tm3+ doped glasses sensitized by Yb3+ are recognized as efficient RE systems for obtaining laser emissions in the visible, as well as infrared, regions [10

10. R. Scheps, “Upconversion laser processes,” Prog. Quantum Electron.20, 271–358 (1996), and references therein. [CrossRef]

]. Indeed, efficient tunable diode-pumped (Yb3+/Tm3+)- co-doped-system lasers of around 2.0 µm, operating in continuous wave mode with power scaling up to 75 W, have already been developed [11

11. Y. Jeong, P. Dupriez, J. K. Sahu, J. Nilsson, D. Y. Shen, W. A. Clarkson, and S. D. Jackson, “Power scaling of 2 µm ytterbium-sensitized thulium-doped silica fibre laser diode-pumped at 975 nm,” Electron. Lett. 41, 173–174 (2005). [CrossRef]

]. When the medium is co-doped, the three correlated parameters, namely: optimal pump absorption, ideal concentration for optimal CR and high fluorescence quantum efficiency, can be optimized, because the limitation regarding the pump power is minimized due to the very intense optical absorption band of the sensitizer ion (Yb3+) in the interval of 0.96 to 0.98 µm. Thus, the performance of the system can be strongly enhanced, if a diode-pumped laser is chosen accordingly.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the energy transfer and heat generation processes in (Yb3+/Tm3+)-co-doped LSCAS glasses. The measurements were performed using the thermal lens (TL) and photoluminescence (PL) methods, and the focus of the study was the mechanisms responsible for the emission at around 1.8 µm. A quantitative approach to describe the generation of the thermal lens effect in the (Yb3+/Tm3+)-system was proposed.

It is important to mention that a large number of papers are available on ET in (Yb3+/Tm3+) co-doped systems. However, to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first one to use the TL approach, which has been successfully used in the characterization of spectroscopic and thermo-optical properties of laser materials [5

5. S. L. Oliveira, S. M. Lima, T. Catunda, L. A. O. Nunes, J. H. Rohling, A. C. Bento, and M. L. Baesso, “High fluorescence quantum efficiency of 1.8 µm emission in Tm-doped low silica calcium aluminate glass determined by thermal lens spectrometry,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 359–361 (2004). [CrossRef]

, 6

6. C. Jacinto, D. N. Messias, A. A. Andrade, S. M. Lima, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, “Thermal lens and Z-scan measurements: Thermal and optical properties of laser glasses - A review,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 352, 3582–3597 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. In fact, it has already been applied in the evaluation of fluorescence quantum efficiency [6

6. C. Jacinto, D. N. Messias, A. A. Andrade, S. M. Lima, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, “Thermal lens and Z-scan measurements: Thermal and optical properties of laser glasses - A review,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 352, 3582–3597 (2006). [CrossRef]

, 12

12. C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, L. A. O. Nunes, J. D. Myers, M. J. Myers, and T. Catunda, “Normalized lifetimes thermal lens method for the determination of luminescence quantum efficiency and thermo-optical coefficients: Application to Nd3+-doped glasses,” Phys. Rev. B 73, 125107 (2006). [CrossRef]

], quenching by concentration [6

6. C. Jacinto, D. N. Messias, A. A. Andrade, S. M. Lima, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, “Thermal lens and Z-scan measurements: Thermal and optical properties of laser glasses - A review,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 352, 3582–3597 (2006). [CrossRef]

, 12

12. C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, L. A. O. Nunes, J. D. Myers, M. J. Myers, and T. Catunda, “Normalized lifetimes thermal lens method for the determination of luminescence quantum efficiency and thermo-optical coefficients: Application to Nd3+-doped glasses,” Phys. Rev. B 73, 125107 (2006). [CrossRef]

], OH- impurities [13

13. C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, L. A. O. Nunes, T. Catunda, and M. J. V. Bell, “Thermal lens study of the OHinfluence on the fluorescence efficiency of Yb3+-doped phosphate glasses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 071911 (2005), and references therein. [CrossRef]

] and ET upconversion [14

14. C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, T. Catunda, A. A. Andrade, J. D. Myers, and M. J. Myers, “Upconversion effect on fluorescence quantum efficiency and heat generation in Nd3+-doped materials,” Opt. Express 13, 2040–2046 (2005), and references therein. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

].

2. Experimental

The composition of the glasses studied, in wt. %, was: (41.5-x-y) % Al2O3, 47.4 % CaO, 7.0 % SiO2 and 4.1 % MgO, with x=0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5 % Tm2O3 and y=2.0 % Yb2O3. The samples were melted under a vacuum atmosphere, resulting in OH- free LSCAS with IR transmittance in the order of 90 % up to 5.0 µm [15

15. J. A. Sampaio, S. Gama, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, “Fluorescence quantum efficiency of Er3+ in low silica calcium aluminate glasses determined by mode-mismatched thermal lens spectrometry,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 351, 1594–1602 (2005). [CrossRef]

]. The photoluminescence measurements were performed in the interval between 0.4 and 2.0 µm using the excitation beam from a CW Ti:sapphire laser tuned to 0.976 µm. The TL experimental set up used is described in detail elsewhere [6

6. C. Jacinto, D. N. Messias, A. A. Andrade, S. M. Lima, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, “Thermal lens and Z-scan measurements: Thermal and optical properties of laser glasses - A review,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 352, 3582–3597 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. Here, the excitation beam was also a CW Ti:sapphire laser tuned to 0.976 µm, while the probe beam was a He-Ne laser at 0.632 µm. The radiative lifetime values were calculated using the Judd-Ofelt theory for Tm3+ and the reciprocity method [13

13. C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, L. A. O. Nunes, T. Catunda, and M. J. V. Bell, “Thermal lens study of the OHinfluence on the fluorescence efficiency of Yb3+-doped phosphate glasses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 071911 (2005), and references therein. [CrossRef]

] for Yb3+ in single-doped LSCAS samples. The lifetime values were obtained from the first decay (e-1 decay rate) of the decay curve, using τeff=[∫Ilum(t)dt]/Ilum(0) [6

6. C. Jacinto, D. N. Messias, A. A. Andrade, S. M. Lima, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, “Thermal lens and Z-scan measurements: Thermal and optical properties of laser glasses - A review,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 352, 3582–3597 (2006). [CrossRef]

,12

12. C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, L. A. O. Nunes, J. D. Myers, M. J. Myers, and T. Catunda, “Normalized lifetimes thermal lens method for the determination of luminescence quantum efficiency and thermo-optical coefficients: Application to Nd3+-doped glasses,” Phys. Rev. B 73, 125107 (2006). [CrossRef]

], which is the effective lifetime, where Ilum (t) is the decay intensity as a function of time. Indeed, a good agreement (within ~3%) between the two methods was obtained.

3. Results and discussion

Figure 1(a) shows typical luminescence spectra for the samples with 0.5 and 2.5 wt. % Tm2O3. It can be seen that the increase in Tm3+ concentration resulted in a significant enhancement in the 1.8 µm emission, compared to those at 0.48 and 0.8 µm. The fluorescence at 0.8 µm showed a small increase, while at 0.48 µm it presented a 2-fold reduction. The inset in Fig. 1(a) shows the variation of the 1.8 µm emission as a function of Tm2O3 concentration. This behavior can be understood with the help of the simplified energy-level diagram for Yb3+/Tm3+, shown in Fig. 1(b). The absorption spectrum of the Yb3+/Tm3+-co-doped LSCAS glass can be seen on the left-hand side. The population mechanisms for 3F4, 3H4 and 1G4 emitting levels (not shown) occur via one (ET1), two (ET1→ET2), and three (ET1→ET21F4) stepwise ET processes from Yb3+ to Tm3+. The Yb3+ transition approximately matches the first and second ET. However, the energy mismatch, in the order of ~1900 cm-1, for the third step certainly reduced the ET efficiency, as shown by the reduced 0.48 µm emission [Fig. 1(a)]. For this reason, in further analyses, this emission at 0.48 µm was ignored. Fig. 1(a) also shows the low intensity emission at 1.47 µm, ascribed to the 3H43F4 transition.

When the Tm3+ concentration increases, the 1.8 µm emission benefits from the CR process, because of the 3H4, 3H63F4, 3F4 transition, in which two Tm3+ ions interact, resulting in two ions in the same 3F4 level [depicted in Fig. 1(b)]. This process is therefore very important for Tm3+ lasers operating at the 3F43H6 transition.

Fig. 1. (a). Photoluminescence spectra of the co-doped LSCAS glasses with 2.0 wt. % Yb2O3 and 0.5 wt. % (solid line) or 2.5 wt. % (dotted line) Tm2O3. Inset in (a): Integrated area of the 1.8 µm emission versus Tm2O3 concentration. (The line is a guide for the reader). (b). Simplified energy level diagram and typical optical absorption spectrum for Yb3+/Tm3+-codoped LSCAS glass under excitation at 0.976 µm. The excitation and emission wavelengths (λij) and relaxation processes are also indicated.

Table I shows the experimental and theoretical (using the Judd-Ofelt theory) fluorescence lifetime values for the 2F5/2 level of the Yb3+, as well as those for λ20=0.8 and λ10=1.8 µm Tm3+, emitting levels. The lifetime values enable the evaluation of the Yb3+ to Tm3+ ET process efficiencies, as described below. When the Tm3+ ion concentration increases, Yb3+ fluorescence lifetimes decrease rapidly, indicating a very efficient ET from Yb3+ to Tm3+. The strong reduction observed in the value of the fluorescence lifetime of the 3H4 level also confirms the occurrence of the above-mentioned efficient CR mechanism. In addition, the 3F4 lifetime showed a less pronounced reduction with the variation of ion concentration.

The TL technique was employed to quantify the Yb3+→Tm3+ heat generation and ET processes as a function of Tm3+ concentration. The TL effect is caused by the heat generation, by means of nonradiative decay processes after laser energy absorption by the sample. In other words, the TL effect reflects the complementary part of the absorbed energy that was not converted into fluorescence. In the dual beam configuration with an excitation and a probe beam, the TL signal amplitude is proportional to the probe beam wavefront phase shift, θ, induced by the TL, generated by the excitation beam. It can be written as follows [6

6. C. Jacinto, D. N. Messias, A. A. Andrade, S. M. Lima, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, “Thermal lens and Z-scan measurements: Thermal and optical properties of laser glasses - A review,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 352, 3582–3597 (2006). [CrossRef]

]:

Θ=θPabs=(1λpKdsdT)φ
(1)

in which λp is the probe beam wavelength, K is the thermal conductivity, ds/dT is the temperature coefficient of the optical path length change of the sample at the probe beam wavelength, Pabs is the absorbed excitation power, and φ is the fractional thermal loading or the fraction of the absorbed energy that is converted into heat.

In Fig. 2(a), the squares show the fractional thermal loading (φ) and the experimental TL phase shift normalized by the absorbed pump power (Θ=-θ/Pabs) as a function of Tm2O3 concentration. As can be seen φ and thus Θ exhibit a nearly linear increase with concentration up to 1.5 wt. % Tm2O3, showing a saturation-like behavior beyond this concentration. Previously, φ≈0.82 was obtained for the Tm3+-doped LSCAS excited at either 0.79 or 1.09 µm. Therefore, the value φ≈ 0.4 obtained for Yb3+/Tm3+-co-doped LSCAS glasses for the higher Tm2O3 concentration [shown in Fig. 2(a)] represents a significant (~100%) reduction in heat generation due to ET processes. This reduction makes the Yb3+/Tm3+-co-doped LSCAS glass an interesting potential system for lasers in the 1.8 µm region, mainly for high-power diode-pumped solid-state lasers, where heat generation is very critical and can compromise the performance of the system [13

13. C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, L. A. O. Nunes, T. Catunda, and M. J. V. Bell, “Thermal lens study of the OHinfluence on the fluorescence efficiency of Yb3+-doped phosphate glasses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 071911 (2005), and references therein. [CrossRef]

,14

14. C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, T. Catunda, A. A. Andrade, J. D. Myers, and M. J. Myers, “Upconversion effect on fluorescence quantum efficiency and heat generation in Nd3+-doped materials,” Opt. Express 13, 2040–2046 (2005), and references therein. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

].

Table 1. Experimental and theoretical (using the Judd-Ofelt theory) fluorescence lifetime values.

table-icon
View This Table
Fig. 2.(a) Experimental (squares) and theoretical (filled circles + line) thermal loading (φ) and Θ=-θ/Pabs=13φ versus Tm2O3 concentration. (b) First step energy transfer quantum efficiency (ηET1) versus Tm2O3 concentration. λexc=0.976 µm. The lines are guides for the reader.

In order to understand this behavior better, the rate equation system for the levels presented in Fig. 1(b) have been worked out, in the steady state mode. They are:

n˙e=Rpngneτe
(2.a)
n˙1=k1nek2ne+2n2kCR+W21mpn2n1τ1
(2.b)
n˙2=k2nen2τ2
(2.c)

in which τ -1 e=Wrade+k 1+k 2 (the Yb3+ multiphonon decay, Wmpe, was ignored due to the large energy gap for this ion) [13

13. C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, L. A. O. Nunes, T. Catunda, and M. J. V. Bell, “Thermal lens study of the OHinfluence on the fluorescence efficiency of Yb3+-doped phosphate glasses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 071911 (2005), and references therein. [CrossRef]

], τ -1 2=Wrad 2+Wmp 2+WCR 2, τ -1 1=Wrad 21+Wmp 1, k 1=γ 1 n o, k 2=γ 2 n 1, kCR=γCRn o in which k 1, k 2 and kCR are the ET probabilities for step 1, 2 and CR, respectively, and γ1, γ2 and γCR their respective ET parameters, and Rp is the pump rate. In order to avoid unnecessary complication, the back-transfer from Tm3+ to Yb3+ was not included. Level 1′ and 2′ populations were also excluded, since they decay rapidly by multiphonon to levels 1 and 2, respectively.

Generated heat, by unit of time and unit of volume, as shown in Fig. 1(b), is given by:

Q=Rpng(EexcEeg)+k1ne(EegE1o)+k2ne(EegE21)+W21mpE21n2+W1ompE1on1+WegmgEegne+kCRn2(E21E1o)
(3)

In Eq. (3), Wmpeg is negligible because of the large energy gap of the Yb3+ transition. Thus, this term was also not included in this equation. Heat generation, parameter φ in Eq. (1), could be evaluated from Eq. (3) through the relation φ=Q/RpngEexc. The resulting equation for φ is:

φ=(1ηeλexcλeg)λexcλ10{ηET1[(1η1)(ηCRη2)+η1]+ηET(1η1)(η2ηCR)+ηCR(ηETηET1)}λexcλ21η2(ηETηET1)
(4)

in which λexc=0.976 µm, the excitation beam wavelength, and λeg=1.02 µm, the mean Yb3+ emission beam wavelength. The Tm3+ emission wavelengths are λ10=1.8 µm and λ21=1.47 µm. ηET and ηCR are the ET and CR efficiencies, and ηe, η1 and η2 are the fluorescence quantum efficiencies of the levels e, 1 and 2, respectively. ηET1 is the efficiency of the first ET, which is Tm3+ concentration dependent (η ET=η ET1+η ET2). The fluorescence quantum efficiency of the level i can be evaluated by ηi=τexp,i/τrad,i, in which τexp,i and τrad,i are the experimental and radiative lifetimes of level i. Note that if ηET=0, Eq. (4) reduces to the standard φ expression of a system with only one emitting state, φ=1−η λexc/λem, in which λem is the average emission wavelength [6

6. C. Jacinto, D. N. Messias, A. A. Andrade, S. M. Lima, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, “Thermal lens and Z-scan measurements: Thermal and optical properties of laser glasses - A review,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 352, 3582–3597 (2006). [CrossRef]

]. The ET efficiency of the CR mechanism is given by ηCR=1-τexp ,2/τ o,2, in which τexp,2 is the experimental lifetime of the 3H4 level (level 2 in Fig. 1(b)) and τ o,2 is the lifetime value within the limit of low Tm3+ concentration, for which the CR process is negligible. In addition, the ET efficiency from Yb3+ to Tm3+ can be evaluated by ηET=1−τexp,e /τ o,e. All these parameters were determined using the measured lifetime values (Table 1). Therefore, the fractional thermal loading (φ) can be calculated from Eq. (4) using ηET 1(Tm3+) as the only adjustable parameter. With φ and the constant C=(λpK)-1 ds/dT=13W-1, which was previously obtained in Ref. [6

6. C. Jacinto, D. N. Messias, A. A. Andrade, S. M. Lima, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, “Thermal lens and Z-scan measurements: Thermal and optical properties of laser glasses - A review,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 352, 3582–3597 (2006). [CrossRef]

], Θ=C.φ can be evaluated. Fig. 2(a) presents the calculated φ values and Fig. 2(b) depicts the ηET 1 used in these calculations versus the Tm2O3 concentration. As can be seen, ηET 1 increases rapidly with Tm3+ concentration up to 1.5 wt. %, and thereafter, a decreasing behavior is observed. This indicates that the level emitting at 1.8 µm is efficiently excited by ET from Yb3+ to Tm3+ up to 1.5 wt. % Tm2O2 concentration. This highly efficient ET process can be witnessed through the reduction in the quadratic slope of the 0.8 µm emission versus pump power. This emission is due to a two-photon upconversion process populating the 3H4 level, and even for low-excitation levels, its slope is still close to one (data not shown). Above the 1.5 wt. % of Tm2O3 concentration, the 3F4 level is easily populated by CR and thus the saturation is stronger, reducing ηET 1. Therefore, for this Yb3+ concentration (2 wt. %), we can state that the optimum Tm2O3 content for emission at 1.8 µm is 1.5 wt. %. Another important fact was the observation that even at the higher Tm3+ concentration levels of these glasses, the fluorescence lifetime values (shown in Table 1), and consequently the quantum efficiency of the 1.8 µm emitting level (0.56 and 0.41 for samples doped with 0.5 and 2.5 wt. % Tm2O3, respectively) are much higher than those of other Tm3+-doped glasses, such as for silicates, which vary from 0.06 to 0.15 [5

5. S. L. Oliveira, S. M. Lima, T. Catunda, L. A. O. Nunes, J. H. Rohling, A. C. Bento, and M. L. Baesso, “High fluorescence quantum efficiency of 1.8 µm emission in Tm-doped low silica calcium aluminate glass determined by thermal lens spectrometry,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 359–361 (2004). [CrossRef]

, 16

16. D. C. Hanna, R. M. Percival, R. G. Smart, and A. C. Tropper, “Efficient and Tunable Operation of a Tm-Doped Fiber Laser,” Opt. Commun. 75, 283–286 (1990). [CrossRef]

].

The results of this study show the Yb3+/Tm3+-co-doped LSCAS system, for laser emission in the 1.8 µm range, to be better than its corresponding Tm3+-doped LSCAS system excited at ~0.8 or 1.09 µm, especially for high-power lasers, because the generated heat is greatly diminished and the 1.8 µm emitting level is efficiently excited by the ET and CR. Furthermore, other Yb3+ and Tm3+ concentrations could be analyzed in order to optimize further this co-doped system.

4. Conclusion

In conclusion, the results of this study show that the highly efficient Yb3+ ions transfer their energy to a less efficient Tm3+ ion with a thermal loading lower (100% lower for the higher Tm2O3 concentrations used in this work) than that for a single Tm3+-doped LSCAS glass. The CR process rapidly increases with Tm3+ concentration and thus the 3F4 level is easily populated. The equation to describe the thermal lens and luminescence data enabled the determination of the absolute values of specific ET quantum efficiency (first ET) of (Yb3+- Tm3+) co-doped samples, in a procedure that takes into account the main mechanisms for heat generation. Finally, the results showed that the co-doped sample with 1.5 wt. % Tm2O3 and 2 wt. % Yb2O3 was the optimal concentration studied for emission at 1.8 µm, because at these concentrations, the 3F4 emitting level is efficiently populated by ET from Yb3+ to Tm3+ and by CR between Tm3+ ions. These results suggest that this material would be a promising candidate for the construction of mid-infrared lasers, which are especially important for the purpose of medical procedures.

Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the Brazilian agencies: Capes, CNPq, FAPESP, FAPEAL, FINEP, and Fundação Araucária for their financial support of this research and also Peter Grimshaw for the language revision.

References and links

1.

L. E. Batay, A. A. Demidovich, A. N. Kuzmin, A. N. Titov, M. Mond, and S. Kuck, “Efficient tunable laser operation of diode-pumped Yb,Tm:KY(WO4)2 around 1.9 µm,” Appl. Phys. B 75, 457–461 (2002). [CrossRef]

2.

D. Y. Shen, J. K. Sahu, and W. A. Clarkson, “High-power widely tunable Tm:fibre lasers pumped by an Er,Yb co-doped fibre laser at 1.6 µm,” Opt. Express 14, 6084 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

3.

J. F. Wu, S. B. Jiang, T. Qua, M. Kuwata-Gonokami, and N. Peyghambarian, “2 µm lasing from highly thulium doped tellurite glass microsphere,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 87, 211118 (2005). [CrossRef]

4.

G. Galzerano, F. Cornacchia, D. Parisi, A. Toncelli, and M. Tonelli, “Widely tunable 1.94 µm Tm : BaY2F8 laser,” Opt. Lett. 30, 854–856 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]

5.

S. L. Oliveira, S. M. Lima, T. Catunda, L. A. O. Nunes, J. H. Rohling, A. C. Bento, and M. L. Baesso, “High fluorescence quantum efficiency of 1.8 µm emission in Tm-doped low silica calcium aluminate glass determined by thermal lens spectrometry,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 359–361 (2004). [CrossRef]

6.

C. Jacinto, D. N. Messias, A. A. Andrade, S. M. Lima, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, “Thermal lens and Z-scan measurements: Thermal and optical properties of laser glasses - A review,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 352, 3582–3597 (2006). [CrossRef]

7.

D. F. de Sousa, L. F. C. Zonetti, M. J. V. Bell, J. A. Sampaio, L. A. O. Nunes, M. L. Baesso, A. C. Bento, and L. C. M. Miranda, “On the observation of 2.8 µm emission from diode-pumped Er3+- and Yb3+-doped low silica calcium aluminate glasses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 74, 908–910 (1999). [CrossRef]

8.

D. F. De Sousa, L. A. O. Nunes, J. H. Rohling, and M. L. Baesso, “Laser emission at 1077 nm in Nd3+-doped calcium aluminosilicate glass,” Appl. Phys. B 77, 59–63 (2003). [CrossRef]

9.

C. J. da Silva, M. T. de Araujo, E. A. Gouveia, and A. S. Gouveia-Neto, “Fourfold output power enhancement and threshold reduction through thermal effects in an Er3+/Yb3+-codoped optical fiber laser excited at 1.064 µm,” Opt. Lett. 24, 1287–1289 (1999). [CrossRef]

10.

R. Scheps, “Upconversion laser processes,” Prog. Quantum Electron.20, 271–358 (1996), and references therein. [CrossRef]

11.

Y. Jeong, P. Dupriez, J. K. Sahu, J. Nilsson, D. Y. Shen, W. A. Clarkson, and S. D. Jackson, “Power scaling of 2 µm ytterbium-sensitized thulium-doped silica fibre laser diode-pumped at 975 nm,” Electron. Lett. 41, 173–174 (2005). [CrossRef]

12.

C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, L. A. O. Nunes, J. D. Myers, M. J. Myers, and T. Catunda, “Normalized lifetimes thermal lens method for the determination of luminescence quantum efficiency and thermo-optical coefficients: Application to Nd3+-doped glasses,” Phys. Rev. B 73, 125107 (2006). [CrossRef]

13.

C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, L. A. O. Nunes, T. Catunda, and M. J. V. Bell, “Thermal lens study of the OHinfluence on the fluorescence efficiency of Yb3+-doped phosphate glasses,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 071911 (2005), and references therein. [CrossRef]

14.

C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, T. Catunda, A. A. Andrade, J. D. Myers, and M. J. Myers, “Upconversion effect on fluorescence quantum efficiency and heat generation in Nd3+-doped materials,” Opt. Express 13, 2040–2046 (2005), and references therein. [CrossRef] [PubMed]

15.

J. A. Sampaio, S. Gama, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, “Fluorescence quantum efficiency of Er3+ in low silica calcium aluminate glasses determined by mode-mismatched thermal lens spectrometry,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 351, 1594–1602 (2005). [CrossRef]

16.

D. C. Hanna, R. M. Percival, R. G. Smart, and A. C. Tropper, “Efficient and Tunable Operation of a Tm-Doped Fiber Laser,” Opt. Commun. 75, 283–286 (1990). [CrossRef]

OCIS Codes
(140.6810) Lasers and laser optics : Thermal effects
(160.3380) Materials : Laser materials
(160.4760) Materials : Optical properties

ToC Category:
Materials

History
Original Manuscript: April 26, 2007
Revised Manuscript: June 18, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: July 3, 2007
Published: July 12, 2007

Virtual Issues
Vol. 2, Iss. 8 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Citation
C. Jacinto, Marcos V. Vermelho, M. T. de Araujo, P. T. Udo, N. G. Astrath, A. C. Bento, T. Catunda, and M. L. Baesso, "Thermal lens study of energy transfer in Yb3+/Tm3+-co-doped glasses," Opt. Express 15, 9232-9238 (2007)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/vjbo/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-15-15-9232


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References

  1. L. E. Batay, A. A. Demidovich, A. N. Kuzmin, A. N. Titov, M. Mond, and S. Kuck, "Efficient tunable laser operation of diode-pumped Yb,Tm:KY(WO4)2 around 1.9 μm," Appl. Phys. B 75, 457-461 (2002). [CrossRef]
  2. D. Y. Shen, J. K. Sahu, and W. A. Clarkson, "High-power widely tunable Tm:fibre lasers pumped by an Er,Yb co-doped fibre laser at 1.6 μm," Opt. Express 14, 6084 (2006). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. J. F. Wu, S. B. Jiang, T. Qua, M. Kuwata-Gonokami, and N. Peyghambarian, "2 μm lasing from highly thulium doped tellurite glass microsphere," Appl. Phys. Lett. 87, 211118 (2005). [CrossRef]
  4. G. Galzerano, F. Cornacchia, D. Parisi, A. Toncelli, and M. Tonelli, "Widely tunable 1.94 μm Tm: BaY2F8 laser," Opt. Lett. 30, 854-856 (2005). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. S. L. Oliveira, S. M. Lima, T. Catunda, L. A. O. Nunes, J. H. Rohling, A. C. Bento, and M. L. Baesso, "High fluorescence quantum efficiency of 1.8 μm emission in Tm-doped low silica calcium aluminate glass determined by thermal lens spectrometry," Appl. Phys. Lett. 84, 359-361 (2004). [CrossRef]
  6. C. Jacinto, D. N. Messias, A. A. Andrade, S. M. Lima, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, "Thermal lens and Z-scan measurements: Thermal and optical properties of laser glasses - A review," J. Non-Cryst. Solids 352, 3582-3597 (2006). [CrossRef]
  7. D. F. de Sousa, L. F. C. Zonetti, M. J. V. Bell, J. A. Sampaio, L. A. O. Nunes, M. L. Baesso, A. C. Bento, and L. C. M. Miranda, "On the observation of 2.8 μm emission from diode-pumped Er3+- and Yb3+-doped low silica calcium aluminate glasses," Appl. Phys. Lett. 74, 908-910 (1999). [CrossRef]
  8. D. F. De Sousa, L. A. O. Nunes, J. H. Rohling, and M. L. Baesso, "Laser emission at 1077 nm in Nd3+-doped calcium aluminosilicate glass," Appl. Phys. B 77, 59-63 (2003). [CrossRef]
  9. C. J. da Silva, M. T. de Araujo, E. A. Gouveia, and A. S. Gouveia-Neto, "Fourfold output power enhancement and threshold reduction through thermal effects in an Er3+/Yb3+-codoped optical fiber laser excited at 1.064 μm," Opt. Lett. 24, 1287-1289 (1999). [CrossRef]
  10. R. Scheps, "Upconversion laser processes," Prog. Quantum Electron. 20, 271-358 (1996), and references therein. [CrossRef]
  11. Y. Jeong, P. Dupriez, J. K. Sahu, J. Nilsson, D. Y. Shen, W. A. Clarkson, and S. D. Jackson, "Power scaling of 2 μm ytterbium-sensitized thulium-doped silica fibre laser diode-pumped at 975 nm," Electron. Lett. 41, 173-174 (2005). [CrossRef]
  12. C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, L. A. O. Nunes, J. D. Myers, M. J. Myers, and T. Catunda, "Normalized lifetimes thermal lens method for the determination of luminescence quantum efficiency and thermo-optical coefficients: Application to Nd3+-doped glasses," Phys. Rev. B 73, 125107 (2006). [CrossRef]
  13. C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, L. A. O. Nunes, T. Catunda, and M. J. V. Bell, "Thermal lens study of the OH- influence on the fluorescence efficiency of Yb3+-doped phosphate glasses," Appl. Phys. Lett. 86, 071911 (2005), and references therein. [CrossRef]
  14. C. Jacinto, S. L. Oliveira, T. Catunda, A. A. Andrade, J. D. Myers, and M. J. Myers, "Upconversion effect on fluorescence quantum efficiency and heat generation in Nd3+-doped materials," Opt. Express 13, 2040-2046 (2005), and references therein. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. J. A. Sampaio, S. Gama, M. L. Baesso, and T. Catunda, "Fluorescence quantum efficiency of Er3+ in low silica calcium aluminate glasses determined by mode-mismatched thermal lens spectrometry," J. Non-Cryst. Solids 351, 1594-1602 (2005). [CrossRef]
  16. D. C. Hanna, R. M. Percival, R. G. Smart, and A. C. Tropper, "Efficient and Tunable Operation of a Tm-Doped Fiber Laser," Opt. Commun. 75, 283-286 (1990). [CrossRef]

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