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In this paper, we study the radiation-induced point defects related to the phosphorus element that is commonly used to improve the optical properties of silica-based glasses but is responsible of a dramatic increase in their radiation sensitivity. To this aim, the influence of x-ray irradiation on prototype phosphorus-doped canonical fibers and their related preforms was investigated by in situ radiation induced attenuation (RIA), optical absorption, and electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy. The RIA spectra in the (1.5–5 eV) range, can be explained by the presence of at least three absorption bands induced by radiation exposure. Additionally the X-dose dependence of such bands was studied. The main responsible defect for these absorption peaks was the phosphorus oxygen hole center (POHC) center, whose presence was also detected by ESR measurements both in irradiated fibers and preforms, together with the lineshape of the so called P2 defect. Correlations between the RIA bands and the ESR results allow us to assign the 2.3 and 3.0 eV bands to POHCs and to propose a scheme for the simultaneous creation of POHC and P2 defects after x-ray exposure.