Abstract

Heavily ${{\rm Tm}^{3 +}}$-doped glass fibers are urgently desired for ${\sim}{2}\;\unicode{x00B5}{\rm m}$ single-frequency fiber lasers and high-repetition-rate mode-locked fiber lasers. Here the structure of glass networks was tuned through controlling the numbers of non-bridging oxygens and bridging oxygens by adjusting the composition of the glasses, hence increasing the ${{\rm Tm}^{3 +}}$ doping concentration of germanate glasses. The increased flexibility of the glass networks favors the distribution of ${{\rm Tm}^{3 +}}$ ions to decrease fluorescence quenching, which was confirmed by the experimental and theoretical results. A heavily ${{\rm Tm}^{3 +}}$ (${9.8} \times {{10}^{20}}\;{\rm ions}/{{\rm cm}^3}$)-doped germanate glass was successfully fabricated without quenching by tuning the components of the glass. To the best of our knowledge, the ${{\rm Tm}^{3 +}}$ ion doping concentration is the highest reported level in ${{\rm Tm}^{3 +}}$-doped glasses and fibers. The results suggest that the heavily ${{\rm Tm}^{3 +}}$-doped germanate glass is highly promising for fabricating $\sim 2\; \unicode{x00B5}{\rm m}$ glass fibers with high gain per unit length.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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