Nano Research

Article Title

Explaining the influence of dopant concentration and excitation power density on the luminescence and brightness of β-NaYF4:Yb3+,Er3+ nanoparticles: Measurements and simulations


upconversion, quantum yield, color tuning, nanoparticles, dopant concentration, rate equation model


We assessed the influence of Yb3+ and Er3+ dopant concentration on the relative spectral distribution, quantum yield ( UC), and decay kinetics of the upconversion luminescence (UCL) and particle brightness (BUC) for similarly sized (33 nm) oleate-capped -NaYF4:Yb3+,Er3+ upconversion (UC) nanoparticles (UCNPs) in toluene at broadly varied excitation power densities (P). This included an Yb3+ series where the Yb3+ concentration was varied between 11%–21% for a constant Er3+ concentration of 3%, and an Er3+ series, where the Er3+ concentration was varied between 1%–4% for a constant Yb3+ concentration of 14%. The results were fitted with a coupled rate equation model utilizing the UCL data and decay kinetics of the green and red Er3+ emission and the Yb3+ luminescence at 980 nm. An increasing Yb3+ concentration favors a pronounced triphotonic population of 4F9/2 at high P by an enhanced back energy transfer (BET) from the 4G11/2 level. Simultaneously, the Yb3+-controlled UCNPs absorption cross section overcompensates for the reduction in UC with increasing Yb3+ concentration at high P, resulting in an increase in BUC. Additionally, our results show that an increase in Yb3+ and a decrease in Er3+ concentration enhance the color tuning range by P. These findings will pave the road to a deeper understanding of the energy transfer processes and their contribution to efficient UCL, as well as still debated trends in green-to-red intensity ratios of UCNPs at different P.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press