Silica films (amorphous and crystalline) doped with erbium were fabricated on silica glass substrate and characterized. The inorganic-organic hybrid sol-gel method was used to prepare the films and the Na codoping induced the crystallization of silica film. Photoluminescence (PL) measurements revealed that the Er3+ ions can be excited from the ground state through an energy transfer process mediated by active defective sites in SiO2 film matrix. The annealing temperature and atmospheres have large effects on the local environment of Er3+ and the 1.54μm PL intensity can be improved significantly by suitable heating treatments. We could correlate Er3+ sensitization effect due to the presence of carbon related species in the films. The PL intensity at nonresonant (476.5 nm) condition can be made as intense as the resonant (488 nm) one, for particular annealing conditions. Noticeable changes in PL emission intensities have not been observed whether the matrix silica film is amorphous or crystalline in nature; however, the defect-related luminescence is almost vanished in case of crystalline silica films.

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