Abstract

Samples of the natural optical ceramic CaF<sub>2</sub> from the Suran deposits (Southern Urals) have been studied as a model object. Nanostructure has been detected in this ceramic by the methods of electron and atomic-force microscopy. The conditions for obtaining precursors and the technological parameters of a process for obtaining a transparent fluoride ceramic with optical losses at a level of 10<sup>−2</sup>-10<sup>−3</sup>cm<sup>−1</sup> at a wavelength around 1μm have been selected, and this is a necessary condition for creating materials for photonics elements. The fluoride nanoceramic possesses improved mechanical properties by comparison with single crystals. The ceramic is free from cleavage, has a breakdown viscosity greater by a factor of 3-6, and its microhardness is 10-15% higher. The thermal conductivity of the fluoride ceramic and of the corresponding single crystal completely coincide. The spectroscopic characteristics of the fluoride nanoceramic differ insignificantly from the characteristics of single crystals of the corresponding composition.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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