Structural and photophysical properties of rare-earth complexes encapsulated into surface modified mesoporous silica nanoparticles†
The encapsulation of [Eu(dbm)3phen] into functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN) has been carried out to study the effect of chemical environments on the photoluminescence properties of the rare-earth complex. Surface functionalization was achieved by the reaction of the silanol groups on the surface of mesoporous silica with different organosilylating agents such as (3-aminopropyl)-triethoxysilane (APTES), (3-mercaptopropyl)-trimethoxysilane (MPTMS), and ethoxytrimethylsilane (ETMS). A change in the luminescence properties of the Eu(dbm)3phen complex has been observed on its encapsulation into surface modified mesoporous silica nanoparticles. The modification of photophysical properties is attributed to the interaction of Eu(dbm)3phen with the different chemical environments in the functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN). The luminescence properties of the rare-earth complex in surface-modified MSN increase in the order MSN < MSN–ETMS < MSN–MPTMS < MSN–APTES. The Eu(dbm)3phen complex encapsulated in the functionalized mesoporous silica nanoparticles shows an enhanced luminescence and an increased lifetime compared to the pure rare-earth complex in the solid state and that in unmodified MSN. This implies that some interactions of the lanthanide complexes take place during their incorporation process into the organically modified mesoporous silica nanoparticles. The organically modified mesoporous silica nanoparticles were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and N2 adsorption desorption measurements. The luminescence properties of the encapsulated Eu(dbm)3phen were studied in detail. Moreover, the effect of functionalized MSNs on the structural behaviour of the Eu(dbm)3phen was investigated by solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (SSNMR) techniques using an analogous diamagnetic model complex, Y(dbm)3phen, encapsulated into functionalized MSNs. These studies indicate that the encapsulated rare-earth complex shows some interactions with the functional groups anchored on the surface of MSNs.