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Nanoparticles in Oxide Glasses: Fundamental Approach and Photonic Applications

Nalin, M.

Oxide glasses containing transition metal nanoparticles have been intensively studied in the last ten years. Such materials, also called nanoglass-ceramics, are interesting for photonic applications such as lasers, optical switching and optical amplifiers operating in the infrared region, as well as in spin-photonics in magnetic glasses. Metallic nanoparticles embedded in glasses are very interesting from the technological point of view, due to the surface plasmon resonance (SPR). SPR localized near the boundary between the metal nanostructure and the surrounding dielectric produces an enhanced electromagnetic field at the interface. This enhanced field is the basis of an important application related to metallic nanoparticles: the enhancement of the intensity of intra-4f electronic transitions in lanthanide ions close to the particles, which has applications as broadband optical amplifiers. The size and shape of the particles play an important role in the optical properties of such glasses and can be controlled during synthesis. Nanoparticle formation inside a glass matrix has been achieved by different methodologies, including melting and quenching followed by thermal treatment or laser irradiation. This lecture reviews the fundamentals of nanoparticles embedded in glasses technology, as well as some highlights in photonic applications.


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