Particle Size Dependence on the Luminescence Spectra of Eu3+:Y2O3 and Eu3+:CaO
Williams, Diane Keith
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Since the Eu3+ ion can occupy different cation sites in a host material, it can serve as a useful probe of nanocrystalline structures to gain more insight into the structural changes that can occur when the particle size is reduced from the bulk to nanometer regime. The use of laser spectroscopy to probe two nanocrystalline structures, Eu3+:Y2O3 and Eu3+:CaO, was investigated. The nanocrystalline structures were prepared by the laser-vaporization-gas-phase condensation of the bulk oxides. The particle size distribution and dominant particle diameters of the nanocrystals were determined by transmission electron microscopy. The particle size dependency results of Eu3+:Y2O3 revealed three distinct phases: (1) the sharp lines of the monoclinic Y2O3 were dominant in the larger particles; (2) the C2 site of the cubic phase, which appears in the smaller particles; and (3) the amorphous phase that increases in intensity as the particle size decreases. The observation of distinct spectral lines from the monoclinic phase confirms the presence of a crystalline phase for all of particle sizes studied. The site-selective results of various concentrations of 13-nm Eu3+:CaO showed that the laser-vaporization-gas-phase condensation method of preparation produced two europium-containing phases at most concentrations: cubic CaO and monoclinic Eu2O3. Results showed that the monoclinic Eu2O3 phase could be reduced by 95% by annealing at 800 0C for 30 minutes without particle growth. Since the Eu3+ ion and the Y3+ ion are isovalent, the substitution of a Eu3+ ion into Y2O3 is considered a trivial case of extrinsic disorder since the impurity is neutral relative to a perfect crystal1. As a result, it is not necessary to have any other defects present in the crystals to maintain charge neutrality. With Eu3+:CaO, the dopant and host cation charges are different and therefore the dopant distribution can be investigated by site-selective spectroscopy. Since the experimental dopant distribution results for nanocrystalline Eu3+:CaO were inconclusive, a model to predict the theoretical change in the dopant distribution in Eu3+:CaO as a function of particle size was developed. The model predicts that the defect chemistry is affected when the particle size is approximately 50 nm and smaller.
- Doctoral Dissertations