The present invention concerns an optical pumping system using a broad continuous chalcogenide emission band of approximately 190 nm in width. The broad emission band is induced by the rare earth doping of a chalcogenide glass. Co-doping using Pr and Er produces a photoluminescence band extending from approximately 1510 nm to 1700 nm. Alternatively, separately Pr and Er doped samples exhibit emission bands considerably wider then the characteristic Pr(1620 nm) and Er (1550 nm) emission bands typically realized in doped oxide glasses. According to the present invention these broad bands are used to produce optical gain over the continuous broad 190 nm band. An excitation source subjects the glass to pumping light to stimulate the broad band emissions. Applied to an optical amplifier, optical signals entering the chalcogenide glass anywhere within the broad range will be amplified. Gain throughout the broad spectrum may be tailored by altering the respective rare earth dopant concentrations or intensity of separate pumping light from the excitation source.
|U.S. patent number
|Published - Oct 22 1996