Radiative energy transfer in ZnAl2O4:0.1% Ce3+, x% Eu3+ nanophosphor synthesized by sol-gel process

S. V. Motloung, F. B. Dejene, R. E. Kroon, H. C. Swart, O. M. Ntwaeaborwa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Zinc aluminate (ZnAl2O4) hosts and 0.1% Ce3+, x% Eu3+ co-activated ZnAl2O4 phosphor were successfully prepared at a relatively low temperature (~80 °C) using the sol-gel method. The co-activator (Eu3+) concentration was varied in the range of 0≤&x≤;2 mol%, while the 0.1% Ce3+ was kept constant. The X-ray diffraction (XRD) data revealed that all annealed samples consisted of the pure cubic ZnAl2O4 structure. The estimated crystallite size was in the range of 18-21 nm in diameter. The results showed that the full width at half maximum (FWHM) increased with the increase in Eu3+ mol%, which suggested a decrease in particle size. The nanopowder microstructure revealed that the material consisted of non-uniform sizes and the loss of lattice fringes as the Eu3+ concentration was increased suggested the increase in strain or disorder. The photoluminescence (PL) results showed that the host, activated and co-activated nanophosphor emitted at different wavelengths. The peak shifts suggested that the luminescence might originate either from the defects in the host, Ce3+ or Eu3+ ions. The incorporation of the co-activator (Eu3+) at higher concentration resulted in radiative energy transfer from Ce3+→Eu3+. The CIE colour coordinates showed a shift from the blue to orange region as the Eu3+ concentration was increased.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalPhysica B: Condensed Matter
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • CIE
  • Cerium activated
  • Energy transfer
  • Europium co-activated
  • Zinc aluminate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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