The intentional design of rare earth doped luminescent architecture exhibits unique optical properties and it can be considered as a promising and potential probe for optical imaging applications. Calcium fluoride (CaF2) nanoparticles doped with optimum concentration of Nd3+ and Yb3+ as sensitizer and activator, respectively, were synthesized by wet precipitation method and characterized by x-ray diffraction (XRD) and photoluminescence. In spite of the fact that the energy transfer takes place from Nd3+ to Yb3+, the luminescence intensity was found to be weak due to the lattice defects generated from the doping of trivalent cations (Nd3+ and Yb3+) for divalent host cations (Ca2+). These defect centres were tailored via charge compensation approach by co-doping Na+ ion and by optimizing its concentration and heat treatment duration. CaF2 doped with 5 mol% Nd3+, 3 mol% Yb3+ and 4 mol% Na+ after heat treatment for 2 h exhibited significantly enhanced emission intensity and life time. The ex vivo fluorescence imaging experiment was done at various thickness of chicken breast tissue. The maximum theoretical depth penetration of the NIR light was calculated and the value is 14 mm. The fabricated phosphor can serve as contrast agent for deep tissue near infrared (NIR) light imaging.
D. Karthickraja, G.A. Kumar, D.K. Sardar, et al., Fabrication of Nd3+ and Yb3+ doped NIR emitting nano fluorescent probe: A candidate for bioimaging applications, Materials Science & Engineering C (2021), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msec.2021.112095
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Materials Science & Engineering C