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Tuning Crystal Phase and Emission Properties of Upconversion Nanocrystals Through Lanthanide Doping

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Infrared-to-visible upconversion fluorescent nanocrystals of Yb3+/Er3+-codoped NaYF4 and Yb3+/Er3+/Gd3+-tridoped NaYF4 were synthesized using a modified coprecipitation process. X-ray diffraction and transmission electron diffraction scans of the nanocrystals confirmed that Gd3+ doping caused a phase transition to occur in the nanocrystals, changing them from a cubic to a hexagonal phase. Hexagonal phase Yb3+/Er3+/Gd3+-tridoped NaYF4 nanocrystals displayed much stronger and sharper upconversion luminescence, and larger intensity ratios of red over green emissions relative to their cubic phase counterparts. The influence of the crystal phase on the upconversion emission properties was explored by use of excitation power dependence curves, dynamic fluorescence and Raman spectra. The results suggest that the cubic-to-hexagonal phase transition decreases the crystal field symmetry, and then enhances upconversion luminescence intensity by relaxing forbidden selection rules. The conversion into the hexagonal phase also increases the number of phonon modes, and consequently improves the phonon-assisted energy transfer efficiency from Yb3+ to Er3+, thus facilitating the output of red emissions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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