"Effect of varying lanthanide local coordination sphere on luminescence properties
illustrated by selected inorganic and organic rare earth complexes synthesized in sol–gel host glasses"
Zaitoun, Mohammed, S. Al-Tarawneh
Inorganic and organic ligands were carefully selected to illustrate the effect of modifications in the local, field environment around the rare earth lanthanide (III) on its emission properties. In this article two strategies were employed to enhance emission of lanthanides encapsulated in sol–gel glass.
(i) Changing the symmetry around the lanthanide, which was diagnosed by changing the local environment around the lanthanide using different inorganic counter ions (acetate, nitrate and chloride) these ligands differ in their affinity toward the lanthanide first coordination sphere. The ligand that penetrates the lanthanide more results in more asymmetric environment and thus results in higher emission. The aim of this part was to demonstrate the change of symmetry on emission in the absence of energy transfer. Our results indicate that the acetate ion has the highest affinity toward the first coordination sphere followed by the nitrate while the chloride showed the lowest affinity. Penetration by the ligands ofthe lanthanide also results in removing OH quenchers surrounding the lanthanide and this further explains the boost in emission. (ii) A bulky organic ligand that forms a complex with the lanthanide is used. The organic ligand separates the lanthanide ion from inner O–H oscillators. In this case the chelating organic chromophore with suitable photophysical properties was employed to sensitize the lanthanide and thus energy transfer occurs via the antenna effect. The organic ligand absorbs UV light, then energy is transferred to the lanthanide and finally the lanthanide emits in the visible region. The first coordination environment surrounding europium was controlled by the ligand selection and the outer sphere was modified by doping the synthesized complexes in an optically transparent sol–gel glass host. The glass network carefully prepared by sol–gel process is effective in preventing free oxygen and water from attacking lanthanide - complexes without loss of luminescence. Emission spectroscopy measurements of the doped silica specimens confirmed the variation of Eu (III) emission depending on the first coordination sphere surrounding the europium ion. The encapsulation of the europium complexes was performed for two reasons: (i) to improve the stability of red phosphor with efficient and high color-purity characteristics under ultraviolet excitation and (ii) this work provides a framework for preparing transparent composite glasses that are robust hosts to study the fundamental interactions between nano-materials and light.