Study of color centers produced in thulium doped YLF crystals irradiated by electron beam and femtosecond laser pulses
In this work, we report the influence of the presence of photochromic and color centers in the photobleaching of thulium ions blue emission in YLF (YLiF 4) crystals doped with 1 mol% Tm (3+). The samples were irradiated at room temperature both with electron beam and high intensity ultrashort pulses from a Ti:Sapphire CPA laser system. In both irradiations the production of photochromic and color centers was observed via the absorption bands in the UV and visible ranges. Pure LiF and pure and oxygen doped YLF crystals were used to identify the color centers produced and their optical properties. From a phenomenological model it was possible to study the interaction between color centers and thulium ions, and their effect in photobleaching and photodarkening behaviors. Finally, the blue up laser level population was computed using a rate equation analysis.