Optical Materials (2016)

Nonequivalent lanthanide defects: Energy level modeling
Jonas J. Joos, Dirk Poelman, Philippe F. Smet
Optical Materials 61 (2016) 50-58

Empirical charge-state transition level schemes are popular tools to model the properties of lanthanide-doped materials and their construction has become standard practice. Typically, it is implicitly assumed that all lanthanide ions form isostructural defects. However, in practice, multiple nonequivalent defects related to the same lanthanide can occur or different lanthanides can even incorporate in different ways. The consequences of these complications on the impurity energy levels are discussed in this article. It seems that small structural differences around the lanthanide dopant can give rise to important spectral differences in its emission. These are not always clearly reproduced by the charge-state transition level schemes. Improvements to the existing procedure are suggested and applied to the lanthanide ions in the well-studied host crystals SrAl2O4, Sr2Si5N8 and SrGa2S4.

Keywords: Lanthanides; Crystallography; Luminescence; Modeling; Electronic structure

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