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Appl Opt. 2016 Sep 20;55(27):7455-61. doi: 10.1364/AO.55.007455.

Radiation hardening of sol gel-derived silica fiber preforms through fictive temperature reduction.


The impact of fictive temperature (T<sub>f</sub>) on the evolution of point defects and optical attenuation in non-doped and Er<sup>3+</sup>-doped sol-gel silica glasses was studied and compared to Suprasil F300 and Infrasil 301 glasses before and after γ-irradiation. To this aim, sol-gel optical fiber preforms have been fabricated by the densification of erbium salt-soaked nanoporous silica xerogels through the polymeric sol-gel technique. These γ-irradiated fiber preforms have been characterized by FTIR, UV-vis-NIR absorption spectroscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance, and photoluminescence measurements. We showed that a decrease in the glass fictive temperature leads to a decrease in the glass disorder and strained bonds. This mainly results in a lower defect generation rate and thus less radiation-induced attenuation in the UV-vis range. Furthermore, it was found that γ-radiation "hardness" is higher in Er<sup>3+</sup>-doped sol-gel silica compared to un-doped sol-gel silica and standard synthetic silica glasses. The present work demonstrates an effective strategy to improve the radiation resistance of optical fiber preforms and glasses through glass fictive temperature reduction.


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