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Issue 58, 2016
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A broad spectrum photon responsive, paramagnetic β-NaGdF4:Yb3+,Er3+ – mesoporous anatase titania nanocomposite

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Abstract

Herein, we report a novel single multifunctional platform based on broad-spectrum photoactive β-NaGdF4:18% Yb3+, 2% Er3+ and mesoporous anatase TiO2 for enhanced energy and simultaneous biomedical applications. Currently, the photoactive materials for solar energy harvesting applications have limitations in their efficiency due to their narrow photon absorption spectrum. The upconversion phosphor β-NaGdF4:18% Yb3+, 2% Er3+ nanorods collect and harvest the NIR photons (∼980 nm) of sunlight and transform them into visible light via anti-Stokes emission (λem ∼521 and ∼540 nm), and the photoactive mesoporous anatase TiO2 (mTiO2) utilizes UV and weak visible photons, thus the composite forms a broad spectrum photon-capture system and improved power conversion efficiency for enhanced applications in photocatalysis, and dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). The photocatalytic activity of the nanocomposite showed an improvement in comparison to the mTiO2 for the degradation of various dyes. In addition, the photocurrent density and solar cell efficiency of the nanocomposites showed an improvement by ∼24% and ∼17% respectively, over mTiO2. The β-NaGdF4:Yb3+,Er3+/mTiO2 nanocomposite exhibits a strong paramagnetic signal (χ ∼ 6.45 × 10−5 emu g−1 Oe−1). The nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) measurements showed large longitudinal T1 relaxivity (r1 = 7.09 s−1 mM−1) and magnetic resonance imaging showed enhanced T1-weighted MRI images with increased concentrations of β-NaGdF4:Yb3+,Er3+/mTiO2 nanocomposite making them suitable for simultaneous magnetoresonance imaging. In addition, this composite system can also be used as a NIR triggered drug delivery system and in biomedical applications. Moreover, mesoporous TiO2 is expected to increase the photocatalytic active sites, dye, and absorption, and drug loading capacity. The as-designed multifunctional β-NaGdF4:Yb3+,Er3+/mTiO2 nanocomposite possessed simultaneous multiple discrete functionalities with excellent luminescence properties, intrinsic paramagnetism, biocompatibility, improved photocatalytic activity, and solar cell efficiency. This work provides a promising system to utilize NIR light, which will contribute to efficient photon harvesting and biological applications.

Graphical abstract: A broad spectrum photon responsive, paramagnetic β-NaGdF4:Yb3+,Er3+ – mesoporous anatase titania nanocomposite

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Publication details

The article was received on 15 Mar 2016, accepted on 23 May 2016 and first published on 24 May 2016


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C6RA06813H
RSC Adv., 2016,6, 53504-53518

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    A broad spectrum photon responsive, paramagnetic β-NaGdF4:Yb3+,Er3+ – mesoporous anatase titania nanocomposite

    P. Padhye, S. Sadhu, M. Malik and P. Poddar, RSC Adv., 2016, 6, 53504
    DOI: 10.1039/C6RA06813H

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