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Nanocrystalline fibers and waveguides


Novel Multifunctional Nanocrystalline Glass Ceramic Materials for Infrared Optoelectronics

Tech Area / Field

  • PHY-OPL/Optics and Lasers/Physics
  • MAT-CER/Ceramics/Materials

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Belorussian State Polytechnic Academy / International Laser Center, Belarus, Minsk

Supporting institutes

  • Scientific-Practical Materials Research Centre NAS of Belarus, Belarus, Minsk\nInstitute of Spectroscopy, Russia, Moscow reg., Troitsk\nGomel State Technical University, Belarus, Gomel\nVavilov State Optical Institute (GOI) / Research and Technological Institute of Optical Materials, Russia, St Petersburg\nSt Petersburg State Polytechnical University, Russia, St Petersburg


  • Technische Universitat Wien / Institut fur Photonik, Austria, Vienna\nUniversity of Toronto / Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Canada, ON, Toronto

Project summary

The project's purposes are to elaborate technology of preparation and to characterize spectroscopic and laser properties of glasses containing nanometer size crystals doped with transition metal (TM) ions as well as nanocrystals of semiconductors in order to create fibers and waveguides for lasers and amplifiers with broad amplification bands in the spectral ranges near 1.5mm and 2-3.5mm for applications in transmission and processing information systems, trace gas analysis, ecology and medicine.

The project represents an international high-technology collaborative effort. It is pided between the two major collaborators: CIS R & D groups (coordinator Dr. Nikolay Kuleshov) and Photonics Institute, TU Vienna (coordinator Dr. Irina Sorokina). The funding of the Austrian part of the project is available. The funding of CIS part of the work is being sought within the framework of ISTC.

The state of the art in the field. Glass ceramics containing nanocrystals doped with TM-ions can potentially combine advantages of glasses (simplicity and flexibility of fiber fabrication) with those of TM-doped crystals (high luminescence quantum efficiency and broadband optical gain).

The Cr2+-doped chalcogenide crystals exhibit highly efficient room-temperature laser action in the broadband spectral region (2.1-3.4мm). The technique of preparation of Cr2+-doped ZnSe, ZnS, CdSe and CdMnTe crystals of laser quality are being elaborated currently by the participants of these Proposal in the framework of the ISTC Project B-631“Mid-infrared vibronic femtosecond laser oscillators”. Investigations with crystalline powders of Cr2+-doped chalcogenides indicate that a promising materials for creation of Cr2+-based fibers and waveguides could be glass ceramics containing nanocrystals of Cr2+- doped chalcogenides.

Currently used optical communication systems are mostly based on erbium-doped fiber amplifiers with gain bandwidth up to 80 nm. In order to enhance a capacity of communication systems optical fiber amplifiers of new generation with gain bandwidth up to 400 nm are needed. In Cr4+ doped glasses a broadband luminescence in the spectral region from approximately 1000 nm to 1500 nm was observed. The main disadvantage of Cr-doped glass materials is a rather low quantum efficiency of luminescence. Glass ceramic materials can potentially overcome this disadvantage.

Fibers and waveguides on the base of glass ceramics with TM-ions and IV-VI semiconductor compounds can be used as saturable absorbers for Q-switching and mode-locking of fiber lasers. The use of different TM ions (V3+, Cr2+, Cr4+, et. al.) in glass ceramics is expected to cover the spectral range of saturable absorption from 1 to 2 мm. The saturable absorption of IV-VI semiconductor-doped glasses is due to strong quantum-confinement of quasiparticles in nanocrystals. Varying the size of semiconductor nanocrystals one can to develop materials with required absorption parameters (wavelength and transmittance). Nonlinear optical elements based on glasses with semiconductor nanocrystals are of special interest for fast fiber/integrated lasers.

The impact of the proposed project on the progress in this field. Technologies and materials for a new class of fiber and waveguide laser devices with unprecedentally broad amplification bands will be developed for application in various areas of industry. The project results will have an important value for the progress in the area of modern laser technology, including applications especially in environmental science, physics, biotechnology, life sciences, material science, instrumentation technology, space technology, chemistry, and manufacturing. Detailed study of processes of nanocrystalline particles formation in glassy host matrices will allow to obtain new scientific information concerning the physics of multiphase solid state materials.

Competence of the project team in the specified area. The 28 weapon experts from six institutions of Belarus and Russia will be involved in the project fulfillment. All teams taking part in the project proposal have a high level of professional skill and experience in preparation and comprehensive characterization of crystalline and glass ceramic materials (ILC, GSTU, SPbSPU, NITIOM, ISSSP), nanostructured semiconductor materials (ISAN), as well as optical fibers and waveguides (ISAN) and in designing and investigation of solid state laser devices (ILC and TU, Vienna).

Expected results and their application. The category of technology development of the project is Applied Research, Technology Development.

During fulfilment of the six Tasks of the project the following scientific results will be obtained:

  • Preparation technology of phosphate, silicate and/or other glasses containing nanocrystals of chalcogenides and fluorides doped with TM ions will be elaborated;
  • Preparation technology of calcium aluminate, borosilicate and silicate glass ceramics containing nanocrystals of Cr4+ -doped calcium aluminates, forsterite and/or YAG and V3+-doped YAG will be elaborated;
  • Preparation technology of phosphate, silicate and borosilicate glasses containing nanocrystals of semiconductors will be modified for fiber and waveguide fabrication;
  • Samples of optical fibers (or waveguides) based on TM-doped glass ceramics and waveguides based on TM-doped chalcogenide crystalline materials for light amplification purposes will be fabricated and characterized;
  • Samples of optical fibers (or waveguides) based on TM-doped glass ceramics and on glasses with semiconductor nanocrystals for passive Q-switching and mode-locking of fiber lasers will be fabricated and characterized.

The project fulfilment will result in technology elaboration of materials productions for new broadband fiber and waveguide laser devices and give an opportunity for commercial production of facilities with enhanced capabilities for applications in telecommunications, medicine, ecology, etc.

Meeting ISTC Goals and Objectives

The project meets ISTC goals and objectives.

  • The project fulfilment will provide 28 weapon scientists and engineers from Belarus and Russia an opportunity to redirect their capabilities to peaceful activities.
  • Integration of scientists from Belarus and Russia into the European scientific community will be promoted in the framework of long term collaboration with the Institut fьr Photonik, Technical University of Vienna (Austria).
  • Applied researches in the field of technology development of materials for telecommunication systems, ecology and medicine.

Scope of activities. The project will be executed during 36 months by 53 scientists and engineers from participating institutions. Total project effort is 11,128 person*days, and the activities are pided into six Tasks. The goal of Tasks 1 and 2 (ILC, GSTU, SPbSPU, NITIOM, ISSSP, ISAN) is elaboration of preparation methods of silicate, calcium aluminate and borosilicate glass ceramics materials on the base of Cr2+, Cr4+ and V3+- ions doped nanocrystals. The objective of Task 3 (ILC, SPbSPU, NITIOM) is modification of the preparation techniques of phosphate, silicate and borosilicate glasses containing nanocrystals of PbA (A=S and Se) semiconductors for fiber and waveguide applications. The purpose of Tasks 4 and 5 (ILC, ISAN) is spectroscopic (Task 4) (ILC, ISAN) and laser (Task 5) (ILC) characterization of ceramics and glasses as active laser media and saturable absorbers. During implementation of Task 6 (ILC, ISAN) optical fibers (or waveguides) for laser applications will be produced and tested.

The total Tasks efforts are 3,804 person*days (Task 1), 2,630 person*days (Task 2), 1,534 person*days (Task 3), 1,764 person*days (Task 4), 420 person*days (Task 5), 976 person*days (Task 6).

Role of foreign collaborators. The research activity of the group of Dr. I. Sorokina at the Photonics Institute of the Technical University of Vienna during the last several years concentrated on the investigation and optimization of the solid-state lasers, based on new TM-doped laser materials. The collaborator is going to tightly collaborate with the project participants in the following directions:

· Information exchange in the coarse of the project implementation;
· Provide comments to the annual technical reports submitted by the project participants to the ISTC;
· Conducting laser experiments with glass ceramics materials fibers and waveguides in cooperation with the ILC group.

Technical approach and methodology. At materials preparation and their characteristics investigation methods will be used which are based on the project participants preceding experience connected with weapon elaboration and experience gained during the ISTC project B-631“Mid-infrared vibronic femtosecond laser oscillators” fulfillment. Materials will be prepared by sol-gel, batch-melting and sintering techniques and their modifications. Characterization of materials will be performed by using differential thermal analysis, X-rays diffractometry, absorption spectroscopy, luminescence and Raman spectroscopy etc. Characterization of fiber and waveguide samples will be carried out by spectroscopic methods as well as methods of laser nonlinear spectroscopy and laser experiments.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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