Heat treating fluorochlorozirconate (FCZ) glasses nucleates nanocrystals in the glass matrix, resulting in a nanocomposite glass-ceramic that has optical properties suitable for use as a medical imaging plate. Understanding the way in which the nanocrystal nucleation proceeds is critical to controlling the optical behavior. The nucleation and growth of nanocrystals in FCZ glass-ceramics was investigated with in situ transmission electron microscopy heating experiments. The experiments showed the nucleation and growth of previously unreported BaF2 nanocrystals in addition to the expected BaCl2 nanocrystals. Chemical analysis of the BaF2 nanocrystals shows an association with the optically active dopant previously thought only to interact with BaCl2 nanocrystals. The association of the dopant with BaF2 crystals suggests that it plays a role in the photoluminescent (PL) properties of FCZ glass-ceramics.
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