Optical and structural properties of Nd doped SnO2 powder fabricated by the sol–gel method
We report on the structural and optical properties of undoped and neodymium doped SnO2 powders (0, 1, 3, and 5 at% of Nd) synthesized by the sol–gel method. SEM and TEM microscopy techniques reveal a nanometric scale of the powders. We show that the tetragonal rutile phase is achieved after annealing at 700 °C. The crystallite size of the doped SnO2 is found to decrease gradually with the increase of Nd content without changing the SnO2 structure. A strong decrease in the intensity of the Raman peaks is noted for doped powders, which can be attributed to the location of Nd3+ ions at the Sn sites indicating Nd incorporation into the host matrix. For the first time the optical properties were studied by UV-Vis-NIR spectroscopy and revealed Nd related absorption bands in the SnO2 matrix. The investigation of the photoluminescence properties shows broad emission centred around 550–650 nm originating from defects present in the SnO2 host matrix. Under 325 nm laser excitation, a strong photoluminescence of trivalent Nd is observed in the infrared region and shows Nd related emission peaks at 885, 1065, and 1336 nm. Such a strong PL signal under laser excitation indicates that Nd3+ is optically active. The excitation dependent PL (PLE) recorded in the 450–700 nm range confirms the presence of active Nd3+ successfully inserted into the SnO2 host matrix.