Tuning upconversion through energy migration in core-shell nanoparticles

Feng Wang, Renren Deng, Juan Wang, Qingxiao Wang, Yu Han, Haomiao Zhu, Xueyuan Chen, Xiaogang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1447 Scopus citations


Photon upconversion is promising for applications such as biological imaging, data storage or solar cells. Here, we have investigated upconversion processes in a broad range of gadolinium-based nanoparticles of varying composition. We show that by rational design of a core-shell structure with a set of lanthanide ions incorporated into separated layers at precisely defined concentrations, efficient upconversion emission can be realized through gadolinium sublattice-mediated energy migration for a wide range of lanthanide activators without long-lived intermediary energy states. Furthermore, the use of the core-shell structure allows the elimination of deleterious cross-relaxation. This effect enables fine-tuning of upconversion emission through trapping of the migrating energy by the activators. Indeed, the findings described here suggest a general approach to constructing a new class of luminescent materials with tunable upconversion emissions by controlled manipulation of energy transfer within a nanoscopic region. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)968-973
Number of pages6
JournalNature Materials
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 23 2011

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): 10974200, 51002151
Acknowledgements: The bulk of the work was supported by the Singapore Ministry of Education (No. MOE2010T2-1-083), the Singapore-MIT Alliance, and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (No. IMRE/11-1C0110). Y.H. is grateful to KAUST Global Collaborative Research for the Academic Excellence Alliance (AEA) fund. H.Z. and X. C. acknowledge the financial support from the NSFC (Nos. 10974200 and 51002151) and the 863 programs of MOST (Nos. 2009AA03Z430 and 2011AA03A407). We thank T. Nguyen, Y. Liu and L. Tan for their help in sample characterization.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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