Femtosecond laser induced structural changes in fluorozirconate glass

Simon Gross*, David G. Lancaster, Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem, Tanya M. Monro, Alexander Fuerbach, Michael J. Withford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Fluorozirconate glasses, such as ZBLAN (ZrF4-BaF2-LaF3- AlF3-NaF), have a high infrared transparency and large rare-earth solubility, which makes them an attractive platform for highly efficient and compact mid-IR waveguide lasers. We investigate the structural changes within the glass network induced by high repetition rate femtosecond laser pulses and reveal the origin of the observed decrease in refractive index by using Raman microscopy. The high repetition rate pulse train causes local melting followed by rapid quenching of the glass network. This results in breaking of bridging bonds between neighboring zirconium fluoride polyhedra and as the glass resolidifies, a larger fraction of single bridging fluorine bonds relative to double bridging links are formed in comparison to the pristine glass. The distance between adjacent zirconium cations is larger for single bridging than double bridging links and consequently an expansion of the glass network occurs. The rarified glass network can be related to the experimentally observed decrease in refractive index via the Lorentz-Lorenz equation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-583
Number of pages10
JournalOptical Materials Express
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

This paper was published in Optical materials express and is made available as an electronic reprint with the permission of OSA. The paper can be found at the following URL on the OSA website: http://www.opticsinfobase.org/ome/abstract.cfm?uri=ome-3-5-574. Systematic or multiple reproduction or distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.

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