Upconversion (UC) refers to nonlinear optical processes in which the sequential absorption of two or more photons leads to the emission of light at shorter wavelength than the excitation wavelength (anti-Stokes type emission). In contrast to other emission processes based on multiphoton absorption, upconversion can be efficiently excited even at low excitation densities. The most efficient UC mechanisms are present in solid-state materials doped with rare-earth ions. The development of nanocrystal research has evoked increasing interest in the development of synthesis routes which allow the synthesis of highly efficient, small UC particles with narrow size distribution able to form transparent solutions in a wide range of solvents. Meanwhile, high-quality UC nanocrystals can be routinely synthesized and their solubility, particle size, crystallographic phase, optical properties and shape can be controlled. In recent years, these particles have been discussed as promising alternatives to organic fluorophosphors and quantum dots in the field of medical imaging.
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