Selective excitation of Eu3+ in the core of small β-NaGdF4 nanocrystals

Mateusz Banski, Artur Podhorodecki, Jan Misiewicz, Mohammad Afzaal, Ahmed Lutfi Abdelhady, Paul O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The influence of the nanocrystal matrix on the optical properties of lanthanide dopants is investigated with europium ions used as local crystal field probes. The analysis is performed on small NaYF4 and NaGdF 4 nanocrystals obtained by the thermolysis of the corresponding metal trifluoroacetates. An important role in the synthesis is played by trioctylphosphine oxide which induces the crystallization of nanocrystals with small diameters (∼5 to 6 nm). In such small particles, the energy transfer from gadolinium to europium ions is studied with photoluminescence, photoluminescence excitation and time-resolved experiments. We demonstrate that excited gadolinium ions efficiently transfer their energy to europium, and their photoluminescence spectra depend on the nanocrystal size. This is contrary to the direct excitation of Eu3+ ions, which produces size-dependent emission corresponding to the surface to volume ratio of europium sites. Finally, we propose that Gd3+ ions transfer their energy mainly to the Eu3+ in the core of the nanocrystals. These observations provide a base for the optically controlled emission from only the core of the nanocrystals.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)801-807
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry C
Issue number4
StatePublished - 28 Jan 2013


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