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Optical Engineering

Increasing the working temperature range of ZrF4-BaF2-LaF3-AlF3-NaF glass through microgravity processing
Author(s): Anthony Torres; Jeffrey M. Ganley; Arup K. Maji; Dennis S. Tucker; Dmitry S. Starodubov
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Paper Abstract

Fluorozirconate glasses, such as ZBLAN (ZrF 4 -BaF 2 -LaF 3 -AlF 3 -NaF ), have the potential for optical transmission from 0.3 μm in the ultraviolet to 7 μm in the infrared regions. However, crystallites formed during the fiber-drawing process prevent this glass from achieving its desired transmission range. The temperature at which the glass can be drawn into a fiber is known as the working range, defined as (Tx-Tg), bounded by the glass transition temperature (Tg) and the crystallization temperature (Tx). In contrast to silica glasses, the working temperature range for ZBLAN glass is extremely narrow. Multiple ZBLAN samples were subjected to a heating and quenching test apparatus on the parabolic aircraft under a controlled μ-g and hyper-g environments and compared with 1-g ground tests. Optical microscopy examination elucidates that crystal growth in ZBLAN is suppressed and initiates at a later temperature when processed in a microgravity environment. Thus, the crystallization temperature, Tx, at which the crystals form has increased. The glass transition temperature, Tg, remains constant, as crystallization does not occur until approximately 360°C for this composition of ZBLAN. Therefore, the working temperature range for ZBLAN has been broadened.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 March 2014
PDF: 10 pages
Opt. Eng. 53(3) 036103 doi: 10.1117/1.OE.53.3.036103
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 53, Issue 3
Show Author Affiliations
Anthony Torres, Texas State Univ. (United States)
Jeffrey M. Ganley, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Arup K. Maji, The Univ. of New Mexico (United States)
Dennis S. Tucker, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Dmitry S. Starodubov, Physical Optics Corp. (United States)

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