The fabrication of transparent polycrystalline Y3
(YAG) is still a challenge, requiring the achievement of highly pure and fully dense, homogeneous materials. An important role is played by the powder characteristics: pure, fine and unagglomerated powders are essential for achieving full density and the required microstructural features. Keeping in mind these requirements, the aim of this work was to investigate the role of different synthesis parameters during co-precipitation, which is widely used to prepare YAG powders for transparent devices. The key role of the precipitant solution is here illustrated, by comparing the effect of aqueous ammonia (AA) versus
ammonium hydrogen carbonate (AHC). This latter allowed the preparation of softly agglomerated powders, characterized by a very good sinterability. However, when AHC is used, attention should be paid to its concentration. By comparing the effect of two AHC precipitant solutions (at 0.5 M and 1.5 M, respectively), only the former one allowed the preparation of pure YAG powders, free from secondary phases. In this last condition, by using both chlorides and nitrates as YAG precursors, pressureless sintering at 1500–1600 °C/3 h gave rise to pure materials, highly dense and characterized by a fine and homogeneous microstructure.
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