Erbium-doped glasses are of great interest for optical fiber telecommunications at 1.5 μm. The sol-gel process offers many advantages for synthesizing materials for integrated optical devices. Some of these advantages include high-purity, low- temperature synthesis, and excellent control and flexibility over composition and design. In this paper, we report the first Er- doped sol-gel waveguides. We examined several approaches for alleviating the OH- quenching problem associated with conventional sol-gel processes. We prepared the first ion exchangeable Er-doped glasses which can be fabricated into integrated optical devices. The concept of molecular docking of Er as a coordinate complex in gel matrices to improve the luminescence properties has been applied. We also exploited the concept of using the evanescence field to couple energy into an Er-doped sol-gel layer on top of a glass optical device. New progresses in modifying the properties of gel matrices for integrated optical device applications are presented.