Structural and Photoluminescence Investigations of Tb3+/Eu3+ Co-Doped Silicate Sol-Gel Glass-Ceramics Containing CaF2 Nanocrystals

Materials (Basel). 2021 Feb 5;14(4):754. doi: 10.3390/ma14040754.

Abstract

In this work, the series of Tb3+/Eu3+ co-doped xerogels and derivative glass-ceramics containing CaF2 nanocrystals were prepared and characterized. The in situ formation of fluoride crystals was verified by an X-ray diffraction technique (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The studies of the Tb3+/Eu3+ energy transfer (ET) process were performed based on excitation and emission spectra along with luminescence decay analysis. According to emission spectra recorded under near-ultraviolet (NUV) excitation (351 nm, 7F65L9 transition of Tb3+), the mutual coexistence of the 5D47FJ (J = 6-3) (Tb3+) and the 5D07FJ (J = 0-4) (Eu3+) luminescence bands was clearly observed. The co-doping also resulted in gradual shortening of a lifetime from the 5D4 state of Tb3+ ions, and the ET efficiencies were varied from ηET = 11.9% (Tb3+:Eu3+ = 1:0.5) to ηET = 22.9% (Tb3+:Eu3+ = 1:2) for xerogels, and from ηET = 25.7% (Tb3+:Eu3+ = 1:0.5) up to ηET = 67.4% (Tb3+:Eu3+ = 1:2) for glass-ceramics. Performed decay analysis from the 5D0 (Eu3+) and the 5D4 (Tb3+) state revealed a correlation with the change in Tb3+-Eu3+ and Eu3+-Eu3+ interionic distances resulting from both the variable Tb3+:Eu3+ molar ratio and their partial segregation in CaF2 nanophase.

Keywords: Tb3+/Eu3+ energy transfer; fluoride nanocrystals; glass-ceramics; sol-gel processing.