Photodarkening phenomenon in ytterbium (Yb)-doped silica glasses was experimentally investigated by measurements such as electron spin resonance (ESR), X-ray absorption fine-structure (XAFS), and optical transmittance. A predominant increase of Al-oxygen hole center (OHC) was observed for Al-Yb co-doped silica glasses both by the incidence of pump light and by gamma-ray irradiation. It was also recognized that the optical transmission loss similarly increased in both cases. These results indicate that the formation of Al-OHC is the prime cause of the excess loss induced by photodarkening. XAFS measurement indicated that the second-nearest-neighbor atoms around Yb may be related to the mechanism of photodarkening phenomenon.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.