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Microwave assisted synthesis of high purity As2Se3 chalcogenide glasses

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Despite their unique attributes, extrinsic impurities within chalcogenide glasses (ChGs) can impede their integration in optical or photonic components where low optical loss is a criterion. The purification techniques currently in use for the manufacturing of low loss ChGs are both laborious and time consuming, often without yielding the desired ultra high optical transparency in the spectral regime of interest. Here we present details of a rapid method for the purification of ChGs based on the simultaneous, microwave assisted melting of the elemental starting materials. Arsenic and selenium reagents are inserted in a domestic microwave oven cavity and irradiated for 5 or 15 min while kept under dynamic vacuum. The As2Se3 glasses prepared with this method show no thermal and structural property discrepancy as compared with conventionally melted glasses. In studies conducted to date we observe a reduction of 100% (i.e. below detection limit) in O–H and H2O, and of ∼80% in the impurity levels of oxides. We believe the microwave assisted synthesis of ChGs is a significant milestone in the development of a more efficient tool for the manufacture of higher purity materials, with technological spin off expanding beyond the border of ChGs science itself.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2013

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