Inorganic and organically modified rare-earth-doped silica gels



The fluorescence properties of inorganic and organically-modified rare-earth-doped sol-gel silica are presented. Eu3+-doped ormosils were prepared from Si(OCH3)4 and CH3Si(OCH3)3, (CH3)2Si(OCH3)2, (CH3)2Si(OC2H5)2, or (n-C3H7)Si(OCH3)3 in various proportions. Er3+-doped ormosils were prepared using Si(OC2H5)4 and CH3Si(OC2H5)3, (CH3)2Si(OC2H5)2 or C2H5Si(OC2H5)3. Gels derived from Si(OCH3)4 were also doped with the fluorinated Eu3+ precursors Eu(fod)3, (CF3SO3)3Eu, and (CF3CO2)3Eu·3H2O. The effect of metal ion codopants, which are known to inhibit clustering of Eu3+ in sol-gel silica, on Er3+ fluorescence is also considered. Fluorescence line-narrowing studies of Eu3+-doped samples indicated that significant Eu3 clustering occurs in both the ormosils and fluorinated precursor compositions. Lifetime measurements of the Eu3+-and Er3+ –doped ormosils showed longer lifetimes at low heat treatment temperatures relative to purely inorganic sol-gel silica, but no significant difference remained in fully densified samples. The longest lifetimes were observed for samples doped with the fluorinated precursors, indicating that the fluorinated ligands are effective at reducing the water content in densified gels.