Synthesis and Optical Properties of KYF4/Yb, Er Nanocrystals, and their Surface Modification with Undoped KYF4


  • The authors are grateful to Dr. Karl Krämer (University of Bern) for synthesizing the bulk reference material.


KYF4/Yb3+, Er3+ nanocrystals with a mean diameter of approximately 13 nm were synthesized at 200 °C in the high boiling organic solvent N-(2-hydroxyethyl)ethylenediamine (HEEDA). The particles crystallize in the cubic phase known from α-NaYF4 and form transparent colloidal solutions in tetraethylene glycol (TEG) or propanol. Solutions containing 1 wt % of the nanocrystals in TEG display visible upconversion emission upon continuous wave (CW) excitation at 978 nm. Growing undoped KYF4 on the surface of the KYF4/Yb3+, Er3+ nanocrystals increases the upconversion efficiency by more than a factor of 20. The XRD data of these particles, display a slight increase in the mean particle size from 13 to 15.5 nm, indicating that only a part of the subsequently added KYF4 shell material is deposited onto the particle surface. Nevertheless the performed surface modification obviously leads to core/shell structured particles.