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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Ag-Sensitized NIR-Emitting Yb3+-Doped Glass-Ceramics

1
CNR-ISP Istituto di Scienze Polari, c/o campus scientifico Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, via Torino 155, 30172 Mestre-Venezia, Italy
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Dipartimento di Scienze Molecolari e Nanosistemi, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, via Torino 155, 30172 Mestre-Venezia, Italy
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Museo Storico della Fisica e Centro Studi e Ricerche “Enrico Fermi”, Piazza del Viminale 1, 00184 Roma, Italy
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CNR-IFAC Istituto di Fisica Applicata Nello Carrara, Via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Firenze, Italy
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Division of Materials Science, Department of Engineering Sciences and Mathematics, Luleå University of Technology, 971 87 Luleå, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(6), 2184; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10062184
Received: 11 February 2020 / Revised: 9 March 2020 / Accepted: 14 March 2020 / Published: 23 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photonic Glass-Ceramics: Fabrication, Properties and Applications)
The optical photoluminescent (PL) emission of Yb3+ ions in the near infrared (NIR) spectral region at about 950–1100 nm has many potential applications, from photovoltaics to lasers and visual devices. However, due to their simple energy-level structure, Yb3+ ions cannot directly absorb UV or visible light, putting serious limits on their use as light emitters. In this paper we describe a broadband and efficient strategy for sensitizing Yb3+ ions by Ag codoping, resulting in a strong 980 nm PL emission under UV and violet-blue light excitation. Yb-doped silica–zirconia–soda glass–ceramic films were synthesized by sol-gel and dip-coating, followed by annealing at 1000 °C. Ag was then introduced by ion-exchange in a molten salt bath for 1 h at 350 °C. Different post-exchange annealing temperatures for 1 h in air at 380 °C and 430 °C were compared to investigate the possibility of migration/aggregation of the metal ions. Studies of composition showed about 1–2 wt% Ag in the exchanged samples, not modified by annealing. Structural analysis reported the stabilization of cubic zirconia by Yb-doping. Optical measurements showed that, in particular for the highest annealing temperature of 430 °C, the potential improvement of the material’s quality, which would increase the PL emission, is less relevant than Ag-aggregation, which decreases the sensitizers number, resulting in a net reduction of the PL intensity. However, all the Ag-exchanged samples showed a broadband Yb3+ sensitization by energy transfer from Ag aggregates, clearly attested by a broad photoluminescence excitation spectra after Ag-exchange, paving the way for applications in various fields, such as solar cells and NIR-emitting devices. View Full-Text
Keywords: sol–gel; silica–zirconia; glass–ceramics; Ag nanoaggregates; Yb3+ ions; energy transfer; downshifting; photoluminescence sol–gel; silica–zirconia; glass–ceramics; Ag nanoaggregates; Yb3+ ions; energy transfer; downshifting; photoluminescence
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MDPI and ACS Style

Enrichi, F.; Cattaruzza, E.; Finotto, T.; Riello, P.; Righini, G.C.; Trave, E.; Vomiero, A. Ag-Sensitized NIR-Emitting Yb3+-Doped Glass-Ceramics. Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 2184.

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