In optical polymers functioning as amplifier media, rare earth (RE) ions are introduced into the polymer as active molecular chromophores. They are designed with the RE ion encapsulated and physically buffered by an insulating, covalently bonded, organic ligand and then incorporated at high concentrations (~10% wt of RE ion). The optical properties of the RE chromophores have been studied to evaluate their viability for use in optical waveguide amplifiers. Numerical simulations based on the measured optical properties of samarium chromophore-containing polymers indicate that gains about 20 dB and greater are achievable in a relatively short polymer optical waveguide amplifier operating at 650 nm.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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