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 Prof. John Gruber, by inviting him visit Andrews University for two weeks during the school year, and take advantage of our affiliation with the Army Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., by my spending two weeks with John at this laboratory.  This collaboration includes several distinct projects, including research in high-power Erbium and Neodymium lasers in garnet and oxide materials, research into aluminum- and gallium-nitride thin film materials, and research into the large magneto-optical effects found in lanthanide ions doped in garnet crystals.

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