Single up-conversion nanocrystal as a local temperature probe of electrically heated silver nanowire†
Luminescence thermometry is a powerful technique for monitoring temperature in a sensitive, remote (through light), and minimally invasive manner. Up to now, many macroscopic and microscopic luminescence temperature probes exploiting different temperature sensing schemes have been investigated, with the majority of the studies using aggregates of nanothermometers. This work presents isolated single up-converting NaYF4:Er3+/Yb3+ nanocrystals as functional temperature indicators operating in a standard confocal microscopy configuration. More specifically, the nanocrystals were used to monitor the temperature of a single silver nanowire, whose temperature was controlled electrically via the Joule process. We demonstrate that individual nanocrystals placed near the nanowire can precisely determine the temperature distribution in its surroundings. These results, which combine nanoscopic heat generation with temperature readout using isolated nanocrystals, represent an essential step for the application of isolated single nanoprobes for luminescence thermometry at the nanoscale.