Journal of the American Chemical Society

Controlled Isotropic and Anisotropic Shell Growth in β-NaLnF4 Nanocrystals Induced by Precursor Injection Rate.

PMID 28777550


Precise morphology and composition control is vital for designing multifunctional lanthanide-doped core/shell nanocrystals. Herein, we report controlled isotropic and anisotropic shell growth techniques in hexagonal sodium rare-earth tetrafluoride (β-NaLnF4) nanocrystals by exploiting the kinetics of the shell growth. A drastic change of the shell morphology was observed by changing the injection rate of the shell precursors while keeping all other reaction conditions constant. We obtained isotropic shell growth for fast sequential injection and a preferred growth of the shell layers along the crystal's c-axis [001] for slow dropwise injection. Using this slow shell growth technique, we have grown rod-like shells around different almost spherical core nanocrystals. Bright and efficient upconversion was measured for both isotropic and rod-like shells around β-NaYF4 nanocrystals doped with Yb3+/Er3+ and Yb3+/Tm3+. Photoluminescence upconversion quantum yield and lifetime measurements reveal the high quality of the core/shell nanocrystal. Furthermore, multishell rod-like nanostructures have been prepared with optically active cores and tips separated by an inert intermediate shell layer. The controlled anisotropic shell growth allows the design of new core/multishell nanostructures and enables independent investigations of the chemistry and physics of different nanocrystal facets.