Monodisperse lanthanide fluoride nanocrystals: synthesis and luminescent properties.
ABSTRACT Three types of high-quality, monodisperse lanthanide fluoride colloidal nanocrystals (NCs) including LnF(3) (Ln = La-Pr), NaLnF(4) (Ln = Sm-Er), and Na(5)Ln(9)F(32) (Ln = Tm-Lu) with two crystal phases (hexagonal and cubic) and a rich variety of morphologies have been synthesized in high boiling organic solvents oleic acid and 1-octadecene, via a thermal decomposition pathway. The as-synthesized NCs were well characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), high resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), and photoluminescence (PL) spectra, respectively. It is found that the as-synthesized NCs consist of monodisperse nanoparticles with diverse shapes and narrow size distribution, which can easily disperse in nonpolar cyclohexane solvent. Additionally, a possible mechanism of NC nucleation and growth has been proposed. The results reveal that the formation of monodisperse NCs closely correlates with the inherent nature of lanthanide series from La to Lu. Under 980 nm NIR excitation, as-synthesized Yb(3+)/Ln(3+) (Ln = Er, Tm, Ho)-doped NaGdF(4) and Na(5)Lu(9)F(32) colloidal NCs show the respective characteristic up-conversion (UC) emissions of Er(3+), Tm(3+), and Ho(3+), which are promising for applications in biolabels, bioimaging, displays, and other optical technologies.