Unraveling the local structure and luminescence evolution in Nd3+-doped LiYF4: a new theoretical approach†
Neodymium ion (Nd3+)-doped yttrium lithium fluoride (LiYF4, YLF) laser crystals have shown significant prospects as excellent laser materials in many kinds of solid-state laser systems. However, the origins of the detailed information of their local structure and luminescence evolution are still poorly understood. Herein, we use an unbiased CALYPSO structure searching technique and density functional theory to study the local structure of Nd3+-doped YLF. Our results reveal a new stable phase with the P (No. 81) space group for Nd3+-doped YLF, indicating that the host Y3+ ion site was naturally occupied by the Nd3+ ion impurity. On the basis of our newly developed WEPMD method, we adopt a specific type of orthogonal correlation crystal field to obtain a new set of crystal-field parameters as well as 182 complete Stark energy levels. Many absorption and emission lines for Nd3+-doped YLF are calculated and discussed based on Judd–Ofelt theory, and our results indicate that some of the observed absorption and emission lines are perfectly reproduced by our theoretical calculations. Additionally, we predict several promising transition lines in the visible and near-infrared spectral regions, including the electronic dipole emission lines 4F5/2 → 4I9/2 at 808 nm and 2H9/2 → 4I9/2 at 799 nm, as well as the magnetic dipole emission lines 4F3/2(27) → 4I11/2(6) at 1047 nm and 4F3/2(27) → 4I11/2(8) at 1052 nm. These transition channels indicate that Nd3+-doped YLF laser crystals have greatly promising laser actions for serving as a solid-state laser material.