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Synthesis of NaYF4:Yb3+, Er3+ upconversion nanoparticles in normal microemulsions

Shu-Nan Shan, Xiu-Ying Wang and Neng-Qin Jia*

Author Affiliations

Department of Chemistry, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, P.R. China

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:539  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-539

Published: 3 October 2011


An interface-controlled reaction in normal microemulsions (water/ethanol/sodium oleate/oleic acid/n-hexane) was designed to prepare NaYF4:Yb3+, Er3+ upconversion nanoparticles. The phase diagram of the system was first studied to obtain the appropriate oil-in-water microemulsions. Transmission electron microscopy and X-ray powder diffractometer measurements revealed that the as-prepared nanoparticles were spherical, monodisperse with a uniform size of 20 nm, and of cubic phase with good crystallinity. Furthermore, these nanoparticles have good dispersibility in nonpolar organic solvents and exhibit visible upconversion luminescence of orange color under continuous excitation at 980 nm. Then, a thermal treatment for the products was found to enhance the luminescence intensity. In addition, because of its inherent merit in high yielding and being economical, this synthetic method could be utilized for preparation of the UCNPs on a large scale.