Glass - Back to the Future!

Presenting Author:
Setsuhisa Tanabe

article posted 30 March 2016

Setsuhisa Tanabe received his PhD at Department of Industrial Chemistry, Kyoto University in 1993. After working as an assistant professor, he was promoted to an associate professor in 2001 and to a full Professor in 2008 all in Kyoto University. He is the author of 180 original papers, 25 book chapters, and 37 review papers on rare-earth doped luminescent materials for upconversion, fiber amplifier for optical telecommunication and LED phosphors. He has served as a plenary or invited speaker at more than 50 international conferences. He was the chair of Technical Committee of Optoelectronic Glasses (TC20) of International Commission on Glass (ICG) during 2003- 2011 and a member of Steering Committee during 2013-2016. He was a visiting scientist at Rutgers University, NJ during 1996-1997 and was an invited professor at University of Rennes in 2010. He is now an Associate Editor of Journal of Luminescence.

Glass and Rare-Earth Elements

Setsuhisa Tanabe
Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

Light-based technologies are strongly supported by various glass materials in general. This talk focuses on glasses containing rare-earth elements and doped fibers, as well as their photonic functions such as optical amplifications in fiber telecommunication. Scientific progress and applications of rare-earth spectroscopy and technologies of doped glasses and fibers in recent 60 years have been more than dramatic [1]. Development of various laser diodes has been strongly linked with realization of novel devices of rare-earth-doped glasses. Although it was not claimed in the Resolution of IYL2015 by UN General Assembly, 2015 was also as the 50 years anniversary of the invention of an erbium (Er)-doped glass laser by E. Snitzer working at 1.54µm. This invention later led to the invention of Er-doped fiber amplifier, EDFA in late 1980s [3,4]. It is to be noted that the first demonstration of fiber amplification can be attributed to the research on a neodymium (Nd)-doped fiber in 1964 [5], a year before, 3 years after the invention of the first glass laser of the composition by Snitzer himself in 1961 [6]. While the first laser was demonstrated in ruby, Cr3+ (3d transition-metal)-doped alumina crystal in 1960 [7], most of glass lasers and amplifiers working now are doped with rare-earth ions as 4f active centers. In this review talk, I would like to mention my personal perspectives on glass and rare-earth elements, which has given me exciting experiences during my carrier on glass and rare-earth research [8,9].

[1] S. Tanabe, “Glass and Rare-Earth Elements: A Personal Perspective”, Int. J. Appl. Glass Sci. 6[4], 305–328 (2015)
[2] E. Snitzer and R. Woodcock, “Yb-Er Glass Laser,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 6, 45–46 (1965).
[3] R. J. Mears, L. Reekie, I. M. Jauncey, and D. N. Payne, “Low-Noise Erbium-Doped Fibre Amplifier Operating at 1.54 lm,” Electron. Lett. 23, 1026–1028 (1987).
[4] M. Nakazawa, Y. Kimura, and K. Suzuki, “Efficient Er3+-Doped Optical Fiber Amplifier Pumped by a 1.48µm InGaAsP Laser Diode,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 54, 295–297 (1989).
[5] C. J. Koestner and E. Snitzer, “Amplification in a Fiber Laser,” Appl. Opt. 3, 1182–1186 (1964).
[6] E. Snitzer, “Optical Maser Action of Nd3+ in a Barium Crown Glass,” Phys. Rev. Lett. 7, 444–446 (1961).
[7] T. H. Maiman, “Stimulated Optical Radiation in Ruby,” Nature 187, 493–494 (1960).
[8] S. Tanabe, “Optical Transitions of Rare-Earth Ions for Amplifiers: How the Local Structure Works in Glass,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids 259, 1–9 (1999).
[9] S. Tanabe, “Design of Rare Earth Doped Amplifiers for the WDM Telecommunication. International Scientific Colloquium on the Occasion of Otto Schott’s 150th Birthday: Glasstech Ber. Glass Sci. Technol, 74C, 67–81 (2001).