Luminescent inorganic materials are used in several technological applications such as light-emitting displays, white LEDs for illumination, bioimaging, and photodynamic therapy. Usually, inorganic phosphors (e.g., complex oxides, silicates) need high temperatures and, in some cases, specific atmospheres to be formed or to obtain a homogeneous composition. Low ionic diffusion and high melting points of the precursors lead to long processing times in these solid-state syntheses with a cost in energy consumption when conventional heating methods are applied. Microwave-assisted synthesis relies on selective, volumetric heating attributed to the electromagnetic radiation interaction with the matter. The microwave heating allows for rapid heating rates and small temperature gradients yielding homogeneous, well-formed materials swiftly. Luminescent inorganic materials can benefit significantly from the microwave-assisted synthesis for high homogeneity, diverse morphology, and rapid screening of different compositions. The rapid screening allows for fast material investigation, whereas the benefits of enhanced homogeneity include improvement in the optical properties such as quantum yields and storage capacity.
Keywords: energy storage; light converting; luminescent inorganic materials; microwave heating; microwave-assisted synthesis.