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Studies of optical properties of lanthanide upconversion nanoparticles for emerging applications.

Time: Thu 2020-06-04 10.00

Location:, Stockholm (English)

Subject area: Theoretical Chemistry and Biology

Doctoral student: Qingyun Liu , Teoretisk kemi och biologi, Royal Institute of Technology

Opponent: Assistant professor Patricia Haro Gonzalez, Department of Materials Physics, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain

Supervisor: Senior professor Hans Ågren, Teoretisk kemi och biologi, Bioteknologi, Kemi, Albanova VinnExcellence Center for Protein Technology, ProNova, Royal Institute of Technology; Doktor Haichun Liu, Teoretisk kemi och biologi

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YTTERBY, a small village very close to Stockholm where I live, is the place in the world which has lent its name to the largest number of elements in the periodic table, namely four - YTTRIUM, YTTERBIUM, ERBIUM and TERBIUM. Three more lanthanide elements were discovered from the now empty quarry located in this village. By the time of their discoveries in the 19th century little could be known about their fantastic properties, the versatility of their use and functionality in what we now call nanotechnology. This is a circumstance that motivated me to rather recently enter lanthanide research, in particular studies of their outstanding optical properties for the purpose of information technology and energy harvesting.

So far, upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) have been much explored as unique spectral converters for various applications, like biotechnology, information technology and photovoltaic devices due to properties like sharp emission profiles, low autofluorescence and large anti-Stoke shifts. Still, there is much to explore and to understand in order to fully utilize the very unique properties of UCNPs. The kinetic dynamics of the upconversion process is one such aspect that is not well understood, and a deeper understanding of the kinetic dynamics of lanthanide upconversion systems could thus broaden their applications. Therefore, the work of this thesis is focused on investigating the kinetic dynamics of upconversion processes mainly based on systems with NaYF4 as host material, and Yb3+/Er3+ or Yb3+/Tm3+ embedded as sensitizer/activator. Through rate equation models, the kinetic dynamics of upconversion are comparatively investigated with numerical simulations and analytical derivation. The temporal response regarding upconverted luminescence and quantum yield power density dependence, excitation duration response and excitation frequency response of the upconversion systems are investigated and the corresponding applications for multicolor imaging, optical encoding, photovoltaics, IR photodetectors are explored and analyzed in the thesis, taking advantage of the kinetic properties.