Compared to oxide based glasses, vitreous materials composed of chalcogen elements (S, Se, Te) show large transparency windows in the infrared. Indeed, chalcogenide glasses can be transparent from the visible up to 12 – 15 µm, depending on their compositions. This is due to the lower phonon energies of chalcogenides, which are also responsible for enhanced luminescence of rare-earth ions embedded in such matrices.
Thus, sulphide glasses, for instance, allow light emission at wavelengths not accessible with silica. In addition, chalcogenide glasses contain large polarisable atoms and external lone electron pairs which induce exceptional non-linear properties. Consequently, the non-linear properties can be 100 or 1000 times as high as the non-linearity of silica. The presentation deals with the latest results in terms of optical properties and applications of chalcogenide glass fibers, including photonic crystal fibers and fibers for optical sensors. 1