50th anniversary of the Judd–Ofelt theory: An experimentalist's view of the formalism and its application

Hehlen, Markus P.; Brik, Mikhail G.; Krämer, Karl W. (2013). 50th anniversary of the Judd–Ofelt theory: An experimentalist's view of the formalism and its application. Journal of luminescence, 136, pp. 221-239. Amsterdam: North-Holland 10.1016/j.jlumin.2012.10.035

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The theory on the intensities of 4f-4f transitions introduced by B.R. Judd and G.S. Ofelt in 1962 has become a center piece in rare-earth optical spectroscopy over the past five decades. Many fundamental studies have since explored the physical origins of the Judd–Ofelt theory and have proposed numerous extensions to the original model. A great number of studies have applied the Judd–Ofelt theory to a wide range of rare-earth doped materials, many of them with important applications in solid-state lasers, optical amplifiers, phosphors for displays and solid state lighting, upconversion and quantum-cutting materials, and fluorescent markers. This paper takes the view of the experimentalist who is interested in appreciating the basic concepts, implications, assumptions, and limitations of the Judd–Ofelt theory in order to properly apply it to practical problems. We first present the formalism for calculating the wavefunctions of 4f electronic states in a concise form and then show their application to the calculation and fitting of 4f-4f transition intensities. The potential, limitations and pitfalls of the theory are discussed, and a detailed case study of LaCl3:Er3+ is presented.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Krämer, Karl


500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 540 Chemistry








Karl Krämer

Date Deposited:

16 Dec 2013 16:46

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:26

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Judd–Ofelt theory; 4f transition intensities; Intermediate coupling wavefunctions; Lifetimes and branching ratios; Rare-earth spectroscopy





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