A refractive-index matched experimental setup that largely eliminates the effect of radiation trapping on measured excited-state lifetimes in high refractive index solids is presented. An index-matched glass sphere was used to measure the room-temperature lifetimes of 2F5/2 in YAG:l%Yb3+ and 4I11/2 in YLF:5%Er3+, yielding the record low values of 948.9±0.6 μs and 3.85±0.01 ms, respectively. It is concluded that lifetimes from non index-matched experiments are most likely to be significantly overestimated in high refractive-index solids for excited states with a large radiative component to the ground-state multiplet and a high reabsorption cross section. The presented technique is easily applicable to room-temperature excited-state lifetime measurements of many luminescent solids.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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