The development of efficient luminescent systems, such as microcavities, solid state lasers, integrated optical amplifiers, optical sensors is the main topic in glass photonics. The building blocks of these systems are glass-ceramics activated by rare earth ions because they exhibit specific morphologic, structural and spectroscopic properties. Among various materials that could be used as nanocrystals to be imbedded in silica matrix, tin dioxide presents some interesting peculiarities, e.g. the presence of tin dioxide nanocrystals allows increase in both solubility and emission of rare earth ions. Here, we focus our attention on Er3+ - doped silica – tin dioxide photonic glass-ceramics fabricated by sol-gel route. Although the SiO2-SnO2:Er3+ could be fabricated in different geometrical systems: thin films, monoliths and planar waveguides we herein limit ourselves to the monoliths. The effective role of tin dioxide as luminescence sensitizer for Er3+ ions is confirmed by spectroscopic measurements and detailed fabrication protocols are discussed.
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