Glasses rich in rare-earth ions have attracted a lot of interest due to their applications in optical isolators and optical amplifiers. Integrating optical isolators with various optoelectronic devices allows sources to be integrated with lower costs, easier alignment and longer lifetimes. Glasses rich in rare-earth ions have large Verdet constants, so large Faraday rotations. Among the rare-earth ions used in paramagnetic glasses, Tb3+ ions have largest Faraday rotation per ion and the glasses are transparent down to 1.6um. These glasses can also avoid the temperature incompatibility and lattice match problems which are encountered when magneto-optical garnets mare used for integration. The Tb3+doping is also widely used in optical amplifiers. In this paper we have explored the metastable phases present in the sputtered Tb-Al-Si-O system in order to fabricate paramagnetic films with the highest possible Faraday rotations, lowest optical losses and that are easily integrated with semiconductors. A broad peak was observed in the microdiffraction pattern around 2θ= 30deg. This peak corresponded with the close-packed Tb-O plane spacing (111 for FCC Tb4O7 or 002 for HCP Tb2O3), but it was an “amorphous” peak with a 5 deg FWHM. Amorphous films were obtained even when the Tb concentrations were very high. Since high concentrations of Tb are known to devitrify glasses, the discovery of a high-Tb concentrated glass is exciting. This project was supported by the National Science Foundation under the CAREER program (ECS-0134544).bl]References
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Qi, X., Sung, SY., Mondal, S.K. et al. Structure analysis of terbium aluminosilicate glass. MRS Online Proceedings Library 817, 152–158 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-817-L6.18