Chalcogenide hollow glass microspheres, namely compounds formed predominately from one or more of the chalcogen elements (Sulfur, Selenium, and Tellurium), are interesting materials in photonics due to their nonlinear properties, photosensitivity, low phonon energy and infrared transparency.
Since chalcogenide optical fibers are commercially available, the fabrication method based on the melting of the tip of a fiber can be used in this case as well. A more usual process, however, is to drop the crushed glass through a vertical furnace purged with an inert gas, typically argon.
The use of an inert atmosphere is necessary due to the reactive nature of molten chalcogenide glass melting. These hollow glass microspheres find application in biosensing, temperature sensing, lasers and amplifiers. It is worth mentioning that binary, ternary and quaternary metal-chalcogenide nanocrystals (e.g., CdSe, PbTe, CuInS2, Cu2ZnSnS4 etcetera) are also of interest in the field of renewable energies, to enhance the efficiency of energy conversion devices.