Optics Express (2015)

Persistent phosphor SrAl2O4:Eu,Dy in outdoor conditions: saved by the trap distribution
Jonas Botterman, Philippe F. Smet
Optics Express 23 (2015) A868-A881

Abstract
Persistent phosphors are a specific type of luminescent materials having the unique ability to emit light long after the excitation has ended. They are commonly used as emergency signage in near ideal, isothermal indoor situations. Recently, their energy storage capacity was relied on for outdoor situations, e.g. for glow-in-the-dark road marks and in combination with solar cells and photo catalytic processes. In this work the influence of temperature, illumination intensity and the duration of the night is critically evaluated on the performance of afterglow phosphors. The persistent luminescence of SrAl2O4:Eu,Dy green emitting phosphors is studied under realistic and idealized conditions. It is found that the light output profile is hardly influenced by the ambient temperature in a wide range. This is due to the presence of a broad trap depth distribution, which is beneficial to cover the longer and colder winter nights. Temperature drops during the night are however detrimental. For traffic applications, the total light output of glow-in-the-dark road marks at the end of the night is not sufficient for the studied compound, although re-charging by the car’s headlamps partially alleviates this. For energy storage applications, the trap density should be improved and tunneling recombination processes might be needed to overcome overnight temperature drops.

Keywords: Persistent, Luminescence, Afterglow, SrAl2O4, Europium, Traffic Markings, Trap Distribution, Charging, Thermoluminescence

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