Recently we showed that rare earth doped nano-crystalline glass-ceramic fibers could be lased with efficiencies comparable to that obtained in glass fibers1 despite the presence of crystals embedded within the core of the optical fiber. This performance can only be achieved when the crystal size is kept small (usually of the order ~10 nm) keeping the scattering losses (at least in the IR) to a minimum. However, the benefit obtained by incorporating rare earth ions into a crystal environment (as compared with a glass) does not warrant the complexity of using a glass-ceramic fiber. More recently the properties of transition metal duped glass-ceramic fibers have been investigated and we reported a Cr4+-doped forsterite nano-crystalline fiber at CLEO 2001.2 In this case the dramatic improvement in the spectroscopic properties obtained by using a nano-crystalline environment for the active ion is clearly worth the trouble of using a glass-ceramic fiber. This, coupled with the improved formability of a glass-ceramic over a single crystal host, is the driving force behind the work presented here.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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