The cooperative upconversion processes of erbium ions in silver film ion-exchanged waveguides in a phosphate glass were studied from the pump intensity dependence of luminescence decay curves. Cooperative upconversion coefficients of the level, and , were obtained for an concentration of in bulk and waveguide samples, respectively. These values are 1 order of magnitude smaller than the ones reported for silica glass. The increase in the cooperative upconversion coefficient with the increase in concentration was found to be small. The effects of cooperative upconversion on the gain performance were analyzed for different concentrations by a theoretical model based on experimentally measured gain with a 1.48-µm pump wavelength. Given the small cooperative upconversion coefficients in this glass, concentrations potentially as high as were shown to be feasible. Such high concentrations would result in a 12-dB gain at 150-mW pump power with a 4-cm-long waveguide.
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