New method of producing optical materials reduces cost, improves performance

Optical material manufacturers now have the opportunity to license a game-changing production method for doped solid optical materials.

A comparison of the laser emission spectrum between standard commercial material (top) and the HIP material (bottom).The two graphs have the same laser power (area under the curves) and the HIP material is spectrally much, much brighter. (Graphic courtesy of Air Force Technology Transfer Program Office)
A comparison of the laser emission spectrum between standard commercial material (top) and the HIP material (bottom).The two graphs have the same laser power (area under the curves) and the HIP material is spectrally much, much brighter. (Graphic courtesy of Air Force Technology Transfer Program Office)

Scientists at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base have developed a new method that uses hot isostatic pressing (HIP) to drive the diffusion of transition metal ions into chalcogenide laser host crystals such as Chromium (Cr), Iron (Fe), Cobalt (Co) or Nickel (Ni) into Zinc Selenide (ZnSe) to license a game-changing production method for doped solid optical materials.

The method can proficiently convert the quality of laser material to a new state that allows users to get all of the power out of the laser without worrying about how narrow the line width has become. Second, it allows manufacturers to make higher-quality laser materials very quickly and cheaply.

The resulting doped crystals give an unparalleled increment in execution over the present strategies and fundamentally diminished assembling cost and increased output. For the instance of Cr: ZnSe, crystals delivered utilizing the method have brought about dispersion rates of 5.48E-8 cm2/s and sub 140 picometer (pm) linewidth goals, likening to 100x quicker dissemination and 350x smaller linewidth than economically accessible Cr:ZnSe.

Early outcomes with iron doped zinc selenide (Fe:ZnSe) have created likewise encouraging outcomes, with a deliberate linewidth of under 300 pm when contrasted with 50 nanometers in the untreated crystal.

Drs. Gary Cook, Sensors Directorate at the Air Force Research Laboratory said, “With existing methods when a narrow line-width is required, you sacrifice a good deal of power. The new method allows for a very narrow linewidth but no loss of power.”

The strategy gives a controlled and proficient, post crystal development dispersion by means of a two-step procedure of sputter deposition and hot isostatic squeezing. Undoped polycrystalline substance vapor statement developed gems are cleaned to optical quality, at that point sputter covered with Cr, Fe, or other change metal before being set specifically in a HIP chamber for consequent HIP treatment to encourage dispersion.

This clear procedure is effortlessly versatile for clump tasks and significantly quicker than current assembling strategies which include vacuum heat treatment for up to a long time at any given moment.

A similar technique might be reached out to other alloyed optical materials and conceivably to composites with evaluated doping necessities which might be troublesome or unrealistic to create by different means. The HIP procedure has likewise been connected to at present accessible Cr:ZnSe materials (without extra Cr sputtering) with equal execution increments illustrated.

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