Lanthanide-doped nanoparticles are an emerging class of optical sensors, exhibiting sharp emission peaks, high signal-to-noise ratio, photostability, and a ratiometric color response to stress. The same centrosymmetric crystal field environment that allows for high mechanosensitivity in the cubic-phase (α), however, contributes to low upconversion quantum yield (UCQY). In this work, we engineer brighter mechanosensitive upconverters using a core–shell geometry. Sub-25 nm α-NaYF 4:Yb,Er cores are shelled with an optically inert surface passivation layer of ~4.5 nm thickness. Using different shell materials, including NaGdF 4, NaYF 4, and NaLuF 4, we study how compressive to tensile strain influences the nanoparticles’ imagingmore »
Mechanical forces affect a myriad of processes, from bone growth to material fracture to touch-responsive robotics. While nano- to micro-Newton forces are prevalent at the microscopic scale, few methods have the nanoscopic size and signal stability to measure them in vivo or in situ. Here, we develop an optical force-sensing platform based on sub-25 nm NaYF 4 nanoparticles (NPs) doped with Yb 3+, Er 3+, and Mn 2+. The lanthanides Yb 3+ and Er 3+ enable both photoluminescence and upconversion, while the energetically coupled d-metal Mn 2+ adds force tunability through its crystal field sensitivity. IN using a diamond anvilmore »
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