Epitaxial growth of ultrathin layers on the surface of sub-10 nm nanoparticles: the case of β-NaGdF4:Yb/Er@NaDyF4 nanoparticles
Upconversion core–shell nanoparticles have attracted a large amount of attention due to their multifunctionality and specific applications. In this work, based on a NaGdF4 sub-10 nm ultrasmall nanocore, a series of core–shell upconversion nanoparticles with uniform size doped with Yb3+, Er3+ and NaDyF4 shells with different thicknesses were synthesized by a facile sequential growth process. NaDyF4 coated upconversion luminescent nanoparticles showed an obvious fluorescence quenching under excitation at 980 nm as a result of energy resonance transfer between Yb3+, Er3+ and Dy3+. NaGdF4:Yb,Er@NaDyF4 core–shell nanoparticles with ultrathin layer shells exhibited a better T1-weighted MR contrast.