Glass melting, post-processing, and characterization

Glass melting is one of the most common activities in the glass studio. During the last few years, we have developed the skills and facilities necessary to prepare high-quality optical glasses with various compositions, such as lead-silicate, tellurite, phosphate, and germanate. Using the melting-casting-quenching-annealing procedure, bulk glasses with different forms can be fabricated. We have facilities for cutting, grinding, polishing, etching and extrusion, and so can manufacture for example cylinders, prisms and tubes, and even complicated preform structures. We can also produce active glasses by mixing rare-earth dopants into the raw powders before glass melting. Also available are UV/Visible/NIR and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometers for glass characterisation, and a prism coupler for measuring the refractive indices of bulk or thin films. Further equipment at the Friedrich-Alexander-University in Erlangen (in the group of our collaborator Prof. Dominique de Ligny) includes a differential thermal analyser (DTA), a dynamic mechanical analyser (DMA), and both photoluminescence and Raman spectrometers.  

(a) Casting melts into a pre-heated mode. (b) A glass cylinder with a curved-wall profile, prepared by polishing. (c & d) Various bulk samples of lead-silicate, tellurite, and germanate glasses, doped or undoped with rare-earth ions.