Confining Excitation Energy in Er3+-Sensitized Upconversion Nanocrystals through Tm3+-Mediated Transient Energy Trapping

Qiushui Chen, Xiaoji Xie, Bolong Huang, Liangliang Liang, Sanyang Han, Zhigao Yi, Yu Wang, Ying Li, Dianyuan Fan, Ling Huang, Xiaogang Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

172 Citations (Scopus)


KGaA, Weinheim A new class of lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticles are presented that are without Yb3+or Nd3+sensitizers in the host lattice. In erbium-enriched core–shell NaErF4:Tm (0.5 mol %)@NaYF4nanoparticles, a high degree of energy migration between Er3+ions occurs to suppress the effect of concentration quenching upon surface coating. Unlike the conventional Yb3+-Er3+system, the Er3+ion can serve as both the sensitizer and activator to enable an effective upconversion process. Importantly, an appropriate doping of Tm3+has been demonstrated to further enhance upconversion luminescence through energy trapping. This endows the resultant nanoparticles with bright red (about 700-fold enhancement) and near-infrared luminescence that is achievable under multiple excitation wavelengths. This is a fundamental new pathway to mitigate the concentration quenching effect, thus offering a convenient method for red-emitting upconversion nanoprobes for biological applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7605-7609
Number of pages5
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • energy migration
  • Er sensitizers 3+
  • optical imaging
  • transient energy trapping
  • upconversion nanocrystals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)

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