Silicon-Induced UV Transparency in Phosphate Glasses and Its Application to the Enhancement of the UV Type B Emission of Gd3+
The silicon route to improve the ultraviolet (UV) transparency in phosphate glasses is investigated and further exploited to enhance the UV type B (280-320 nm) emission of gadolinium(III) relevant for biomedical applications. The glasses were synthesized with a barium phosphate composition by melt-quenching in ambient atmosphere and the optical properties investigated by optical absorption and photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy including emission decay kinetics. An improvement in the UV transparency was gradually developed for the glasses melted merely with increasing amounts of Si powder. A particular PL in the visible was also exhibited for such glasses under excitation at 275 nm, consistent with the presence of Si-induced defects. For Si-Gd codoped glasses, the UV transparency was likewise manifested, while the UV emission from Gd3+ around 312 nm was enhanced with the increase in Si concentration (up to ∼6.7 times). Moreover, along with the Gd3+ PL intensity enhancement, a linear correlation was revealed between the increase in decay times for the Gd3+6P7/2-emitting state and the amount of silicon. It is then suggested that the improved PL properties of gadolinium(III) originate from the increased UV transparency of the host and the consequent precluding of a nonradiative energy transfer from Gd3+ to the matrix. Accordingly, a role of Si as PL quenching inhibitor is supported. The demonstrated efficacy of the Si-Gd codoping concept realized by a facile glass synthesis procedure may appeal to the application of the UV-emitting glasses for phototherapy lamps.