Journal article Open Access

Optical properties and radiation hardness of Pr-doped Sol-Gel silica: influence of fiber drawing process

Cova, Francesca; Fasoli, Mauro; Moretti, Federico; Chiodini, Norberto; Pauwels, Kristof; Auffray, Etiennette; Lucchini, Marco Toliman; Bourret, Edith; Veronese, Ivan; D'Ippolito, Eduardo; Vedda, Anna

The optical emission from the 5d – 4f allowed transition of Pr3+ ions embedded in sol-gel silica is investigated for High Energy Physics applications requiring fast scintillating materials.
A complete and detailed characterization of the optical, scintillation and radiation hardness properties of Pr-doped silica is carried out employing different experimental techniques including steady-state and time-resolved photo-luminescence, radio- and thermo-luminescence, scintillation and optical absorption.
Optical absorption measurements, performed after X-ray irradiation sequences up to 1 kGy, evidence the formation of radiation-induced absorption bands related to point defects acting as color centers. Spontaneous partial recovery of the radiation-induced defects at room temperature, as well as after thermal treatments, is also disclosed.
Particular attention is paid to the comparison between bulk silica, both before and after a melting process, and fibers. The results reveal the presence of a lower concentration of optically active defects in melted glass. Such comparison highlights a role of the fiber drawing in modifying the glass defectiveness, consisting in the occurrence of a structural reorganization of the amorphous network during the process.

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