Fabrizio Guzzetta, Anna Roig*, and Beatriz Julián-López*. J. Phys. Chem. Lett., 2017, 8. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b02473
An ultrafast route to prepare up-converting single β-phase NaYF4:Yb3+,Ln3+ (Ln: Er, Tm, or Tb) short nanorods (UCNRs) of high quality was developed. This new procedure affords reactive-surface nanorods that are easily coated by direct injection of suitable capping ligands. Thus highly crystalline nanorods with excellent UC fluorescence and good solvent-selective dispersion are obtained, which represents a significant advance in the field and enlarges their use for biomedical and other technological applications. Unlike other methodologies, the short reaction time provides a kinetic control over crystallization processes, and the β-phase and rod morphology is preserved regardless of the optically active Ln3+ ion. The UC emission was finely tuned by using the most popular Yb3+/Tm3+ and Yb3+/Er3+ pairs. More importantly, UCNRs doped with the unusual Yb3+/Tb3+ pair, with no ladder-like energy levels, provided a nice emission upon near-infrared excitation, which constitutes the first example of phonon-assisted cooperative sensitization to date in pure β-NaYF4 nanocrystals.