Photoluminescence in Er3+/Yb3+-doped silica-titania inverse opal structures
Er3+ photoluminescence (PL) and Yb3+ → Er3+ energy transfer (ET) phenomena in the near infrared (NIR) have been studied in three-dimensional (3-D) inverse opal (IO) structures synthesized by a colloidal/sol–gel route, starting with the deposition of polystyrene microsphere (235 nm and 460 nm diameter) direct opal templates by convective self-assembly, followed by infiltration of the interstices with Er3+/Yb3+-doped silica, titania and silica-titania sols and heat-removal of the polymeric template material. The crystalline quality of the IOs has been optimized through suitable substrate treatments, plus the control of temperature and humidity during deposition of the templates. The structural and optical properties of the 3-D opal and IO structures have been studied by field emission scanning electron microscopy and visible-NIR reflection spectroscopy, in order to assess the relationship between microstructure and the photonic properties obtained. Photonic bandgaps have been evidenced by the corresponding stop bands in the reflection spectra. The shape and the intensity of the Er3+ 4I13/2 → 4I15/2 transition at ~1.5 μm were modified in most IOs relatively to similar matrix deposits without a photonic crystal structure, particularly in the case of pure silica and titania IOs, where the PL peak narrowed and intensified. It was not possible at this stage to detect Yb3+ → Er3+ ET phenomena in the IOs structures.
KeywordsEnergy transfer Er/Yb co-doping Photonic crystal Inverse opal
L. M. Fortes wishes to acknowledge FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia) for the fellowship SFRH/BPD/34754/2007, A. Chiappini acknowledges PAT FaStFAL (2007-2010) and Shivakiran Bhatka acknowledges ITPAR Phase II (2008-2011) research project, area Nanophotonics. The authors also wish to thank Drª. Bárbara Martins for performing the DLS measurements and Drª Olinda Conde for help with the GIXRD measurements.
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