Thermal, optical and structural properties of relatively depolymerized sodium calcium silicate glass and glass-ceramic containing CaF2

This paper reports on the synthesis and characterization of original sodium calcium silicate glass, with CaF2 as a nucleating agent, along with the successful transformation of the as-made matrix into glass-ceramic. Characteristic temperatures of thermal events were investigated by Differential Thermal Analysis. Volumetric density, refractive index, molar volume, and electronic polarizability of the newly developed glasses were determined and discussed as a function of Ca(O/F2) and Na2O content, fixing glass former SiO2 at 50 mol%. Transmittance and optical band gap energy were evaluated. Network structure was studied through Raman spectroscopy and X-Ray diffraction. Moreover, Eu3+ was used as a local structural probe in equivalent Eu2O3-doped samples. Luminescence properties (emission spectra and transition lifetimes) allowed us to investigate the local environment of precursor glass and glass-ceramic. Calcium fluoride nanostructured glass-ceramic, with 20 nm-sized crystals, was obtained with significant transparency (60–70% in VIS region). The refractive index of synthesized glasses was too close to that of precepted crystals, which is the requisite for high transmittance. The decay time of Eu3+ ions embedded into the matrix has shown that the glass-ceramics environment’s phonon energy is lower than in as-made glass, making this matrix an excellent candidate for photonics applications.

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