Photothermal lens measurements and finite element modeling are used to examine the physical changes taking place in optical filter glasses. Colored glass and neutral density filters are found to have a strong positive temperature-dependent refractive index change. The overall positive refractive index change is thought to be a consequence of complex counteracting factors: stress-induced birefringence, polarizability, structural network, and temperature-dependent carrier density changes in the CdS<sub>x</sub>Se<sub>1–x</sub> microcrystals that produce optical properties of these glasses. Finite element analysis (FEA) modeling is used to examine the temperature profiles and the goodness of the semi-infinite thermal diffusion solution normally used for thermal lens experiments. The results of FEA were used to optimize experimental parameters and calculate values of d<i>n</i>/d<i>T</i> for the glass by comparison with standard liquid samples.

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