Abstract

In this work, colloidal hexagonal-phase (NaYF4:Nd3+/Yb3+/Ho3+)/(NaYF4:Nd3+/Yb3+) core/shell nanoparticles with intense visible upconversion emissions under 808-nm laser excitation were prepared. Compared with the core-only nanoparticles, a maximum 990-fold overall enhancement in the emission intensity of Ho3+ ions was achieved with the help of active-shell coating design, due to the significant increase in the near-infrared absorption and efficient energy transfer from Nd3+ primary-sensitizers to Ho3+ activators via Yb3+ bridging sensitizers. The luminescence-enhancement effect exhibited a strong dependence on the doping concentrations of NaYF4:Nd3+/Yb3+ active-shell. The optimal concentrations of Nd3+ and Yb3+ ions in the active-shell layer were found to be 30 and 5 mol. %, respectively. Moreover, the upconversion emission intensity of NaYF4:Nd3+/Yb3+-coated nanoparticles was about 2.5 times higher than the one coated with a NaYF4:Nd3+ active-shell.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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