Optical properties of rare-earth doped fluorozirconate glass-ceramics for x-ray detector applications
For high-resolution X-ray imaging scintillator applications, we have prepared and optically characterized divalent samarium doped fluorochlorozirconate (FCZ:Sm2+) glasses and glass-ceramics. Sm2+ doped FCZ glasses were obtained by adding a reducing agent, NaBH4 into the initial melt to convert some of the Sm3+ to Sm2+. However, the Sm2+ concentration at most was estimated to be only approximately 0.003 %. The as-prepared glass samples were further heat treated to obtain glass-ceramics; the nucleation and growth of BaCl2 nanocrystals were confirmed by powdered X-ray diffraction (XRD) experiments. Depending on the heat treatment conditions (temperature and time), the average nanocrystal size varies from 8 to 170 nm, and the sample contains BaCl2 nanocrystals with the orthorhombic and/or hexagonal structure. The optical absorption spectra for our glass-ceramic samples suggested the substitution of Sm2+ ions into the BaCl2 lattice site. The FCZ:Sm2+ glass-ceramics samples showed strong fluorescence in the red region of spectrum (approximately 8 times that of an as-prepared glass), and the transparency can be very high (transmittance > 80 % for samples with thickness about 0.5 mm) and can be equivalent to that of an as-prepared glass . These two results promise potential as a high-resolution X-ray scintillator due to the emission wavelength range and high transparency. Extensive studies of photoluminescence (PL) spectra at low temperatures (12 -- 200 K) for FCZ:Sm2+ glass-ceramics suggested useful indicators of the crystal structure and average size of embedded BaCl2 nanocrystals. A detailed analysis of the optical spectra has lead to the identification of the origin of the emission peaks and the location of Sm ions at specific crystallographic sites. X-ray induced luminescence (XL) studies have suggested a strong dependence of the fluorescence intensity on the concentration of Sm2+ ions. In addition, for more efficient fluorescence, a sample should be heat treated in a hydrogen containing atmosphere (e.g. H2 + Ar gas), and the heat treatment conditions should be such that the nanocrystals grow in the hexagonal structure.
Glass-Ceramic, Samarium, Optical Properties, X-ray Imaging Scintillator
Master of Science (M.Sc.)