Europium, terbium, dysprosium, and samarium are the main trivalent lanthanide ions emitting in the visible spectrum. In this work, the potential of these ions for colorimetric applications and colour reproduction was studied. The conversion of spectral data to colour coordinates was undertaken for three sets of Ln complexes composed of different ligands. We showed that Eu is the most sensitive of the visible Ln ions, regarding ligand-induced colour shifts, due to its hypersensitive transition. Further investigation on the spectral bandwidth of the emission detector, on the wavelengths’ accuracy, on the instrumental correction function, and on the use of incorrect intensity units confirm that the instrumental correction function is the most important spectrophotometric parameter to take into account in order to produce accurate colour values. Finally, we established and discussed the entire colour range (gamut) that can be generated by combining a red-emitting Eu complex with a green-emitting Tb complex and a blue fluorescent compound. The importance of choosing a proper white point is demonstrated. The potential of using different sets of complexes with different spectral fingerprints in order to obtain metameric colours suitable for anti-counterfeiting is also highlighted. This work answers many questions that could arise during a colorimetric analysis of luminescent probes.
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