Organo-Sensitised Erbium System for Optical Amplification at Telecommunication Wavelength.
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The erbium-based optical amplifier (EDFA) plays a vital role in the global fibre-optic telecommunication network. However, there are two main issues with current EDFAs, their bulky size means that they cannot be integrated into silicon-based photonic devices, and they need high pump power to produce optical gain. Here, a potential organo-erbium gain system has been invented, which could be operated under a low pump power and integrated onto a silicon-based device. The fully-fluorinated organic erbium complex [Er(ftpip)3] was mixed with a fully-fluorinated organic zinc complex [Zn(F-BTZ)2], acting as a chromophore over the visible range. The composite provides extraordinary sensitisation from the Zn(F-BTZ)2 to Er(ftpip)3 over a broad-visible band, which is compatible with high power LEDs, whilst the erbium ions have a new record of IR emission lifetime of ~ 0.8 ms (quantum yield = ~ 7%). The integrated sensitisation is ~ 104 times that of the intrinsic excitation into erbium. This system has been integrated into an organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) demonstrating that the energy transfer is dominated by triplet states of the Zn(F-BTZ)2. This is used for explaining the photoluminescence saturation and large pump-rate, with the composite being excited by a low power diode laser on the chromophore units. This composite-system was used to fabricate a slab waveguide, in which an relative gain of 3.4 dB/cm was achieved when excited by a diode laser with 3 mW. A microscopic-optic setup was designed to measure IR line strengths of erbium ions in crystals of complexes, which were included in theoretical calculation to obtain accurate quantum yield for IR emission of erbium ions. The inclusion of IR line strengths measured from crystals is found to be crucial for Judd-Ofelt parameterisation on organic erbium complexes. It was demonstrated that fluorination could increase the line strengths of hypersensitive transitions and IR transition for 1.5 μm band.
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