Fabrication of freestanding silk fibroin films containing Ag nanowires/NaYF4:Yb,Er nanocomposites with metal-enhanced fluorescence behavior
Solar cells containing upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) used as a power source in biomedical nanosystems have attracted great interest. However, such solar cells further need to be developed because their substrate materials should be biocompatible, flexible and highly luminescent. Here, we report that freestanding silk fibroin (SF) films containing a mesh of silver nanowires (AgNWs) and β-NaYF4:Yb,Er nanocrystals with metal-enhanced fluorescence behavior can be fabricated. The freestanding composite films exhibit properties such as good optical transparency, conductivity and flexibility. Furthermore, they show significantly enhanced upconversion fluorescence due to surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) of AgNWs compared to the SF–UCNP films without AgNWs. The freestanding composite films with metal-enhanced fluorescence behavior show great promise for future applications in self-powered nanodevices such as cardiac pacemakers, biosensors and nanorobots.