Transparent oxyfluoride nano-glass-ceramics (GCs) containing GdF3 nanocrystals undoped and doped with 0.5 Eu3+ (mol%) were obtained by a novel sol–gel method after sintering at temperatures such low as 550 °C. X-ray diffraction (XRD) and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) show the precipitation of GdF3 nanocrystals with size between 7 and 10 nm, depending on the crystalline phase (hexagonal or orthorhombic) and the heating time. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis allows following the system evolution during the heat treatment showing the decomposition of trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), used as fluorine precursor, together with the formation of fluoride lattice bonding. Energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis confirms the incorporation of the RE ions in the fluoride nanocrystals in the GCs. The ions incorporation on the GdF3 crystals is also supported by optical characterisation. Photoluminescence measurements result in a well resolved structure together with a narrowing of the Eu3+ emission and excitation spectra in the GCs compared to the xerogel. Moreover, the asymmetry ratio between the electric dipole transition (5D0→7F2) to the magnetic dipole transition (5D0→7F1) is reduced in GCs, indicating that Eu3+ ions are incorporated in the GdF3 crystalline phases. Moreover, Gd3+→Eu3+ energy transfer with enhancement of the energy transfer efficiency was observed in the GCs, further supported by fluorescence decay curves.
Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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