Lanthanide-doped upconverting nanoparticles (UCNPs) have the ability to convert low energy photons into high energy photons, making this material appealing for a variety of scientific pursuits, from solar energy conversion to bioimaging. A combination of polymers and nanocomposites increases the utility of these upconverting nanoparticles allowing nanoparticles to be added to any device compatible with polymer coatings. Here, trifluoroacetate salt decomposition enables Er/Yb doped NaYF4 upconverting nanoparticle synthesis. The subsequent deposition of a silica nanoshell yields polar silica-coated upconverting nanoparticles, enabling composite formation with polar urea-containing methacrylic polymers. Hydrogen bonding between urea groups in the polymer and the silica-coated nanoparticles allowed for dispersion of the upconverting nanoparticles to form upconverting composite films. These films exhibit desirable upconversion comparable to the nanoparticles dispersed in methanol. Urea-containing polymers are promising candidates for matrices in nanocomposites formed with polar silica nanoparticles due to favorable polymer-nanoparticle interactions. This architecture is superior to urea-methacrylate homopolymers, since the central low glass transition temperature block will provide critical ductility to the film, thus rendering the film to be durable for optical applications.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Materials Chemistry C|
|Publication status||Published - 2015 Jun 7|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Chemistry