Comparison of Three Ratiometric Temperature Readings from the Er3+ Upconversion Emission

Nanomaterials (Basel). 2020 Mar 28;10(4):627. doi: 10.3390/nano10040627.


The emission of Er3+ provides three combinations of emission bands suitable for ratiometric luminescence thermometry. Two combinations utilize ratios of visible emissions (2H11/24I15/2 at 523 nm/ 4S3/24I15/2 at 542 nm and 4F7/24I15/2 at 485 nm/ 4S3/24I15/2 at 545 nm), while emissions from the third combination are located in near-infrared, e.g., in the first biological window (2H11/24I13/2 at 793 nm/ 4S3/24I13/2 at 840 nm). Herein, we aimed to compare thermometric performances of these three different ratiometric readouts on account of their relative sensitivities, resolutions, and repeatability of measurements. For this aim, we prepared Yb3+,Er3+:YF3 nanopowders by oxide fluorination. The structure of the materials was confirmed by X-ray diffraction analysis and particle morphology was evaluated from FE-SEM measurements. Upconversion emission spectra were measured over the 293-473 K range upon excitation by 980 nm radiation. The obtained relative sensitivities on temperature for 523/542, 485/542, and 793/840 emission intensity ratios were 1.06 ± 0.02, 2.03 ± 0.23, and 0.98 ± 0.10%K-1 with temperature resolutions of 0.3, 0.7, and 1.8 K, respectively. The study showed that the higher relative temperature sensitivity does not necessarily lead to the more precise temperature measurement and better resolution, since it may be compromised by a larger uncertainty in measurement of low-intensity emission bands.

Keywords: YF3, Er3+ emission; lanthanides; luminescence thermometry; upconversion.