We synthesized a series of Yb3+, Er3+ and Tm3+ tri-doped Lu2O3 nanocrystals with various dopant concentrations by the hydrothermal approach. Due to a unique electronic state at the top of the valence band, Lu2O3 based materials exhibit intense upconversion luminescence involving 1G4 → 3H6 of Tm3+ in blue, (2H11/2, 4S3/2) → 4I15/2 in green and 4F9/2 → 4I15/2 in red of Er3+ upon near infrared excitation at 980 nm. The variation of upconversion spectra and color points with dopant concentrations and pump densities are studied in detail on the basis of energy transfer processes. An ideal white upconversion light with color coordinates of (0.327, 0.339) is obtained by controlling the intensity of red, green, and blue emission in Lu1.906Yb0.08Er0.008Tm0.006O3nanocrystals under a pump density of 8 W cm−2. Based on the present experimental data, we may predict the dopant concentrations and pump densities for any color point within or around the white light region in the tri-doped Lu2O3 nanocrystals.
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