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Direct Identification of Surface Defects and Their Influence on the Optical Characteristics of Upconversion Nanoparticles
ACS Nano 12(4):3623-3628 Apr 2018

Bian, Wenjuan; Lin, Yue; Wang, Ting; Yu, Xue; Qiu, Jianbei; Zhou, Meng; Luo, Hongmei; Yu, Siu Fung; Xu, Xuhui

Core–shell structure is an obvious concept to suppress surface-related deactivations in lanthanide-doped upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs). However, no direct observation of atomic-scale surface restoration, which can improve the upconversion photoluminescence, has been reported. Here, we use aberration-corrected high-angle annular dark field scanning transmission electron microscopy to study the surface condition of KLu2F7:Yb3+,Er3+ bare core UCNPs. Due to the very thin and uniform thickness of the UCNPs, we observe unambiguously that the recovery from surface defects enhances upconversion photoluminescence. Furthermore, the realization of dominant green lasing emission under pulsed laser excitation confirms the high crystallinity of the UCNPs.

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