Expanding the toolbox for lanthanide-doped upconversion nanocrystals

Yiming Wu, Melgious Jin Yan Ang, Mingzi Sun, Bolong Huang, Xiaogang Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The ability to convert low-energy quanta into a quantum of higher energy is critical for a variety of applications, including photovoltaics, volumetric display, bioimaging, multiplexing sensing, super-resolution imaging, optogenetics, and potentially many others. Although the processes of second harmonic generation and multiphoton (or two-photon) absorption can be used to generate photon upconversion, lanthanide-doped upconversion nanocrystals have emerged as an attractive alternative for nonlinear upconversion of near-infrared light with pump intensities several orders of magnitude lower than required by conventional nonlinear crystals. Over the past five years, considerable efforts have been made to tune the photoluminescence of upconversion nanocrystals, and significant progress has been achieved. In this review, we focus on manipulation of the wavelength, emission intensity and lifetime of upconversion nanocrystals. Here, we outline the fundamental principle for the upconversion phenomenon, review the current experimental state-of-the-art for controlling photon upconversion in lanthanide-doped nanocrystals and highlight the prospects for multifunctional upconversion nanocrystals currently in development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number383002
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2019


  • energy transfer
  • luminescence
  • nanoparticle
  • upconversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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