Fabrication and characterization of rare-earth-doped nanostructures on surfaces

Thomas J. Mullen, Ming Zhang, Wei Feng, Rita J. El-Khouri, Ling Dong Sun, Chun Hua Yan, Timothy E. Patten, Gang-yu Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This article presents a simple and practical means to produce rare-earth-based nanostructures, as well as a combined characterization of structure and optical properties in situ. A nanosphere lithography strategy combined with surface chemistry enables the production of arrays of β-NaYF4:Yb,Er nanorings inlaid in an octadecyltrichlorosilane matrix. These arrays of nanorings are produced over the entire support, such as a 1 cm2 glass coverslip. The dimension of nanorings can be varied by changing the deposition conditions. A home-constructed, multifunctional microscope integrating atomic force microscopy, near-field scanning optical microscopy, and far-field optical microscopy and spectroscopy is utilized to characterize the nanostructures. This in situ and combined characterization is important for rare-earth-containing nanomaterials in order to correlate local structure with upconversion photoluminescence. Knowledge gained from the investigation should facilitate materials design and optimization, for instance, in the context of photovoltaic devices and biofluorescent probes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6539-6545
Number of pages7
JournalACS Nano
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 23 2011


  • atomic force microscopy
  • nanocrystal
  • nanosphere lithography
  • near-field scanning optical microscopy
  • Rare-earth-doped
  • upconversion luminescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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