Plasma-based VAD process for multiply doped glass powders and high-performance fiber preforms with outstanding homogeneity
An innovative approach using the vapor axial deposition (VAD), for the preparation of silica-based high-power fiber laser preforms, is described in this study. The VAD uses a plasma deposition system operating at atmospheric pressure, fed by a single, chemically adapted solution containing precursors of laser-active dopants (e.g., Yb2O3), glass-modifier species (e.g., Al2O3), and the silica matrix. The approach enables simultaneous doping with multiple optically active species and overcomes some of the current technological limitations encountered with well-established fiber preform technologies in terms of dopant distribution, doping levels, and achievable active core diameter. The deposition of co-doped silica with outstanding homogeneity is proven by Raman spectroscopy and electron probe microanalysis. Yb2O3 concentrations are realized up to 0.3 mol% in SiO2, with simultaneous doping of 3 mol% of Al2O3.