Eu3+-Doped Wide Band Gap Zn2SnO4 Semiconductor Nanoparticles: Structure and Luminescence

Mirjana Dimitrievska, Tamara Ivetic, Alexander Litvinchuk, Andrew Fairbrother, Bojan Miljevic, Goran Strbac, Alejandro Rodriguez, Svetlana Lukic-Petrovic

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Nanocrystalline Zn2SnO4 powders doped with Eu3+ ions were synthesized via a mechanochemical solid-state reaction method followed by postannealing in air at 1200 degrees C. X-ray diffraction (XRD), energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX), and Raman and photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopies provide convincing evidence for the incorporation of Eu3+ ions into the host matrix on noncentrosymmetric sites of the cubic inverse spinel lattice. Microstructural analysis shows that the crystalline grain size decreases with the addition of Eu3+. Formation of a nanocrystalline Eu2Sn2O7 secondary phase is also observed. Luminescence spectra of Eu3+-doped samples show several emissions, including narrow-band magnetic dipole emission at 595 nm and electric dipole emission at 615 nm of the Eu3+ ions. Excitation spectra and lifetime measurements suggest that Eu3+ ions are incorporated at only one symmetry site. According to the crystal field theory, it is assumed that Eu3+ ions participate at octahedral sites of Zn2+ or Sn4+ under a weak crystal field, rather than at the tetrahedral sites of Zn2+, because of the high octahedral stabilization energy for Eu3+. Activation of symmetry forbidden (IR-active and silent) modes is observed in the Raman scattering spectra of both pure and doped samples, indicating a disorder of the cation sublattice of Zn2SnO4 nanocrystallites. These results were further supported by the first principle lattice dynamics calculations. The spinel-type Zn2SnO4 shows effectiveness in hosting Eu3+ ions, which could be used as a prospective green/red emitter. This work also illustrates how sustainable and simple preparation methods could be used for effective engineering of material properties.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)18887-18894
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number33
StatePublished - 2016

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-67318


  • analysis
  • doping
  • nanoparticles


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