Integrated Strategy for High Luminescence Intensity of Upconversion Nanocrystals

Publication Type:
Journal Article
ACS Photonics, 2017, 4 (8), pp. 1930 - 1936
Issue Date:
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© 2017 American Chemical Society. The growing applications of upconversion nanocrystals in bioimaging, therapeutics, and photonics have given rise to a demand of high quality nanocrystals with desirable luminescence intensity. Although the design of optimal nanocrystals such as core-shell nanostructures has improved the intensity, the internal links between dopant concentration balance, epitaxial growth protection, and shell thickness effect encounter a compromised situation that lacks of integrated consideration and comprehensive assessment. Here we propose an integrated strategy based on a core-shell design for the enhancement of upconversion luminescence intensity. Epitaxial protection can enable higher activator accommodation capacity in limited spatial scale, which leads to an Er3+ concentration threshold improvement in β-NaYF4 core-shell nanocrystals from 2 to 6 mol %. We further perform a comprehensive assessment of the nanocrystals with convincing performance improvement in ensemble spectroscopic intensity, upconversion quantum yield, and single nanocrystal intensity. Our findings provide improved understanding of electronic behaviors in multiphoton upconversion and opportunities for diverse applications requiring high quality upconversion nanocrystals.
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