Synthesis and characterization of rare earth doped novel optical materials and their potential applications




Pokhrel, Madhab

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There are many application of photonic materials but selection of photonic materials are always constrained by number of factors such as cost, availability of materials, thermal and chemical stability, toxicity, size and more importantly ease of synthesis and processing along with the efficient emission. For example, quantum dots are efficient emitter but they are significantly toxic, whereas dyes are also efficient emitters but they are chemically unstable. On the other hand, display and LED requires the micron size particles but bio application requires the nano-sized particles. On the other hand, laser gain media requires the ceramics glass or single crystal not the nanoparticles. So, realization of practical optical systems critically depends on suitable materials that offer specific combinations of properties. Solid-state powders such as rare-earth ions doped nano and micron size phosphors are one of the most promising candidates for several photonic applications discussed above.

In this dissertation, we investigate the upconversion (UC) fluorescence characteristics of rare earth (RE) doped M2O2S (M = Y, Gd, La) oxysulphide phosphors, for near-infrared to visible UC. Both nano and micron size phosphors were investigated depending on their applications of interest. This oxysulphide phosphor possesses several excellent properties such as chemical stability, low toxicity and can be easily mass produced at low cost. Mainly, Yb3+, Er3+, and Ho3+ were doped in the host lattice, resulting in bright red, green, blue and NIR emissions under 980 nm and 1550 nm excitation at various excitation power densities. Maximum UC quantum yields (QY) up to 6.2 %, 5.8%, and 4.6% were respectively achieved in Yb3+/Er3+ :La2O2S, Y2O2S, and Gd2O2S. Comparisons have been made with respect to reported most efficient upconverting phosphors β-NaYF4:20 % Yb/ 2% Er. We believe that present phosphors are the most efficient and lower excitation threshold upconverting phosphors at 980 and 1550 nm excitation reported to date for UV, green, red and NIR emissions, which makes them potential candidates for many photonic applications. In addition, UC mechanisms were proposed in these phosphors based on the time resolved spectroscopic measurements, including concentration, and power dependence studies. Potential applications of these phosphors in different areas such as solar cells, displays, etc. have been explored depending on the measured absolute quantum yield as well as color coordinate measurements.

In addition, the application of nanophosphors for bioimaging application has been explored. Results from imaging of the nanoparticles together with aggregates of cultured cells have been studied. In vitro toxicity tests were conducted too. Nanoparticles internalization into the nucleus and cytoplasm were conformed using 3D reconstruction of the Z-stack images collected using the confocal mode of the two photon microscope. Measurement of the magnetization of the phosphor was conducted to study the paramagnetic strength of these Gd based nanoparticles. Magnetic resonance imaging with better contrast was also collected using these particles. Finally, the application of these UC phosphors for solar cell and display has been discussed briefly.


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Fluorescence, nanoparticles, Quantum Yield, Rare Earth, Solar Cell, Upconversion



Physics and Astronomy