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Issue 48, 2019
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Pick your precursor! Tailoring the size and crystal phase of microwave-synthesized sub-10 nm upconverting nanoparticles

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Abstract

Small and ultrasmall β-NaGdF4:Yb3+,Er3+ upconverting and near-infrared emitting nanoparticles were prepared by a rapid microwave-assisted strategy utilizing three different lanthanide (Ln) precursors: trifluoroacetates [Ln(TFA)3], oleates [Ln(OA)3], and acetates [Ln(Ac)3]. Assessment of their morphology, crystal phase, and photoluminescence revealed how the nature of the precursor has a great impact on the formation of these nanomaterials. In fact, our findings indicate a sizeable effect on the growth kinetics, which ultimately determined the nanoparticle size, crystal phase, and optical behavior. In a nutshell, the nanoparticles synthesized starting from [Ln(TFA)3] were the largest (5 to 9 nm) and featured the strongest emission. Those prepared from [Ln(OA)3] and [Ln(Ac)3], respectively, exhibited similar sizes in the ultrasmall size regime (ca. 3 nm). The different thermal stabilities of the respective lanthanide precursors – inducing different pressure conditions in the microwave reaction vessel – are suggested to affect the growth mechanism of the nanoparticles. Ultimately, this allows for size control within the sub-10 nm realm. The developed approach was further demonstrated suitable for the growth of core/shell architectures, which greatly improved the emission brightness, while maintaining the particle size below 20 nm.

Graphical abstract: Pick your precursor! Tailoring the size and crystal phase of microwave-synthesized sub-10 nm upconverting nanoparticles

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
31 Aug 2019
Accepted
15 Nov 2019
First published
16 Nov 2019

J. Mater. Chem. C, 2019,7, 15364-15374
Article type
Paper

Pick your precursor! Tailoring the size and crystal phase of microwave-synthesized sub-10 nm upconverting nanoparticles

I. Halimi, E. M. Rodrigues, S. L. Maurizio, H. T. Sun, M. Grewal, E. M. Boase, N. Liu, R. Marin and E. Hemmer, J. Mater. Chem. C, 2019, 7, 15364
DOI: 10.1039/C9TC04817K

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