Abstract

We report precise quantification of the percentage of ion clusters in Er:ZBLAN fibers by measurement of nonsaturable optical absorption and fitting of these data to a simple theoretical model that includes the role of clustering. In particular, using this indirect measurement technique, we demonstrate that 51% of the ions are present in clusters in Er:ZBLAN fibers with an average doping density of 10,000 parts per million, whereas similar fibers with an average doping density of 1,000 parts per million show negligible effects of clustering. Application of this technique to the more precise design of 2.7-µm Er:ZBLAN fiber lasers, to the characterization of the fiber-drawing process, and to more precise determination of cross-relaxation parameters in Er:ZBLAN fibers are discussed.

© 2000 Optical Society of America

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