Lanthanide Spectroscopy

Gary Burdick (Physics)

Lanthanide Spectroscopy: Theory, calculation and measurement of optical properties of rare earth elements doped into transparent crystals

The unique optical properties of the lanthanide elements in solid state media have found a wide array of important technological uses in the past few years, with much current research progressing in diverse areas such as scintillator materials, VUV lasers, and the development of new luminescent materials that will be required for mercury-free fluorescent lamps and plasma displays. Powerful laser-diode arrays have brought new dimensions to the spectroscopy of up-conversion excitation studies that involve rare earth ions (RE3+) in laser host materials. The fact that these hosts include garnets, oxides, and fluorides that can now be prepared inexpensively in nanocrystalline and ceramic forms with high optical quality has made them excellent components in photonic devices.

The work proposed here provides improved theoretical interpretation of measured spectroscopic data necessary for the development of these devices. The money requested in this proposal will enable me to maintain my fruitful collaboration with the Laser Laboratory at the University of Texas at San Antonio through a summer visit to San Antonio. This collaboration includes several distinct projects, including research in Erbium and Neodynium oxide nanocrystals in plastics that may find new technological uses as bio-luminescent probes, and lanthanide ions doped in garnet crystals that are important for next-generation lasers.

Additionally, the most important international research conference in my discipline, the International Conference on Dynamical Processes in Excited States of Solids, will be held at Argonne National Laboratory, in June, 2010. This provides a unique opportunity for me to invite my long-term collaborators, Mike Reid (University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand) and John Gruber (University of Texas at San Antonio) to work with me at Andrews University for a week at the end of June.


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