Enhanced visible/NIR driven catalytic activity in presence of neodymium (Nd3+), for Yb3+ and Tm3+ doped NaYF4 nanoparticles

Simranjit Singh, Shivanand H. Nannuri, Sajan D. George, Swaroop Chakraborty, Anurag Sharma, Superb K. Misra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Removal of organic dye-based impurities from water has been achieved traditionally by the use of photocatalysts. ZnO is a commonly used photocatalyst that works when irradiated by UV irradiation. Since the UV fraction in a solar spectrum is very small, there is a scope of utilizing the near-infrared and visible spectrum for the process of dye degradation. We synthesized a novel tri-dopant upconversion nanoparticle (NaYF4:Yb,Tm,Nd) system using a simplified microwave-assisted technique and combined it with ZnO particles for methylene blue dye degradation studies. We examined the role of neodymium (Nd3+) dopant on the efficiency of dye degradation when illuminated under an inexpensive tungsten halogen lamp source. X-ray diffraction studies revealed that the presence of Nd3+ in the crystal lattice leads to a reduction in the particle size due to shrinkage in the crystallite size. The presence of Nd3+ in upconversion nanoparticles revealed several characteristic absorption bands from 520 nm to 870 nm along with the characteristic 980 nm corresponding to (ytterbium) Yb3+. The power-dependent study at 980 nm confirmed the multi-photon process of upconversion. The degradation efficiency revealed up to 92% degradation for 5 mg L−1 of dye. The degradation efficiency of upconversion nanoparticles and ZnO system in the presence of Nd3+ was 72% and in the absence of Nd3+ was 58%, for a dye concentration of 10 mg L−1. The dye degradation rate constant was higher for NaYF4:Yb,Tm,Nd and ZnO system (0.0041 min−1) compared to NaYF4:Yb,Tm, and ZnO set (0.0029 min−1). Thus, the presence of Nd3+ widens the absorption spectra of UCNP in both the visible and near-infrared (NIR) range.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105813
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Chemical Engineering
Issue number5
Early online date5 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Upconversion nanoparticles
  • Doping
  • energy transfer
  • Photocatalysis
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Visible light photocatalyst


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