Tailoring Upconversion and Morphology of Yb/Eu Doped Y2O3 Nanostructures by Acid Composition Mediation

Daniela Nunes, Ana Pimentel, Mariana Matias, Tomas Freire, A. Araujo, Filipe Silva, Patricia Gaspar, Silvia Garcia, Patricia A. Carvalho, Elvira Fortunato, Rodrigo Martins

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Abstract

The present study reports the production of upconverter nanostructures composed by a yttrium oxide host matrix co-doped with ytterbium and europium, i.e., Y2O3:Yb3+/Eu3+. These nanostructures were formed through the dissociation of yttrium, ytterbium and europium oxides using acetic, hydrochloric and nitric acids, followed by a fast hydrothermal method assisted by microwave irradiation and subsequent calcination process. Structural characterization has been carried out by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) both coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS). The acid used for dissociation of the primary oxides played a crucial role on the morphology of the nanostructures. The acetic-based nanostructures resulted in nanosheets in the micrometer range, with thickness of around 50 nm, while hydrochloric and nitric resulted in sphere-shaped nanostructures. The produced nanostructures revealed a homogeneous distribution of the doping elements. The thermal behaviour of the materials has been investigated with in situ X-Ray diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) experiments. Moreover, the optical band gaps of all materials were determined from diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, and their photoluminescence behaviour has been accessed showing significant differences depending on the acid used, which can directly influence their upconversion performance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number234
JournalNanomaterials
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • microwave synthesis
  • oxide dissociation
  • doping
  • rare earth ions
  • upconversion

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