Atomic-Level Passivation of Individual Upconversion Nanocrystal for Single Particle Microscopic Imaging

Qiuhong Min, Jing Lei, Xin Guo, Ting Wang, Qihua Yang, Dacheng Zhou, Xue Yu, Siu Fung Yu, Jianbei Qiu, Qiuqiang Zhan, Xuhui Xu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) have significant applications for single-molecule probes and high-resolution display. However, one of their major hurdles is the weak luminescence, and this remains a grand challenge to achieve at the single-particle level. Here, 484-fold luminescence enhancement in LuF3:Yb3+, Er3+ rhombic flake UCNPs is achieved, thanks to the Yb3+-mediated local photothermal effect, and their original morphology, size, and good dispersibility are well preserved. These data show that the surface atomic structure of UCNPs as well as transfer from amorphous to ordered crystal structure is modulated by making use of the local photothermal conversion that is generated by the directional absorption of 980 nm light by Yb3+ ions. The confocal luminescence images obtained by super-resolution stimulated emission depletion also show the great enhancement of individual LuF3:Yb3+, Er3+ nanoparticles; the high signal-to-noise ratio images indicate that the laser treatment technology opens the door for single particle imaging and practical application.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1906137
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2020


  • laser treatment
  • local heating
  • single upconversion nanoparticle
  • surface passivation
  • Yb ions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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