Sol-Gel Derived Eu3+-Doped Gd2Ti2O7 Pyrochlore Nanopowders
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Herein we presented hydrolytic sol-gel synthesis and photoluminescent properties of Eu3+-doped Gd2Ti2O7 pyrochlore nanopowders. According to Gd2Ti2O7 precursor gel thermal analysis a temperature of 840 degrees C is identified for the formation of the crystalline pyrochlore phase. Obtained samples were systematically characterized by powder X-ray diffraction, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, and photoluminescence spectroscopy. The powders consist of well-crystalline cubic nanocrystallites of approximately 20 nm in size as evidenced from X-ray diffraction. The scanning and transmission electron microscopy shows that investigated Eu3+-doped Gd2Ti2O7 nanopowders consist of compact, dense aggregates composed entirely of nanoparticles with variable both shape and dimension. The influence of Eu3+ ions concentration on the optical properties, namely, photoluminescence emission and decay time, is measured and discussed. Emission intensity as a function of Eu3+ ions concentration s...hows that Gd2Ti2O7 host can accept Eu3+ ions in concentrations up to 10 at.%. On the other hand, lifetime values are similar up to 3 at.%(similar to 2.7ms) and experience decrease at higher concentrations (2.4ms for 10 at.% Eu3+). Moreover, photoluminescent spectra and lifetime values clearly revealed presence of structural defects in sol-gel derived materials proposing photoluminescent spectroscopy as a sensitive tool for monitoring structural changes in both steady state and lifetime domains.