Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.575, 119-129, 2020
Contribution of resonance energy transfer to the luminescence quenching of upconversion nanoparticles with graphene oxide
Upconversion nanoparticles (UCNP) are increasingly used due to their advantages over conventional fluorophores, and their use as resonance energy transfer (RET) donors has permitted their application as biosensors when they are combined with appropriate RET acceptors such as graphene oxide (GO). However, there is a lack of knowledge about the design and influence that GO composition produces over the quenching of these nanoparticles that in turn will define their performance as sensors. In this work, we have analysed the total quenching efficiency, as well as the actual values corresponding to the RET process between UCNPs and GO sheets with three different chemical compositions. Our findings indicate that excitation and emission absorption by GO sheets are the major contributor to the observed luminescence quenching in these systems. This challenges the general assumption that UCNPs luminescence deactivation by GO is caused by RET. Furthermore, RET efficiency has been theoretically calculated by means of a semiclassical model considering the different nonradiative energy transfer rates from each Er3+ ion to the GO thin film. These theoretical results highlight the relevance of the relative positions of the Er3+ ions inside the UCNP with respect to the GO sheet in order to explain the RET-induced efficiency measurements. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.