Colloidal Lanthanide-Based Nanoparticles: From Single Nanoparticle Analysis to New Applications in Lasing and Cancer Therapy




Bonvicini, Stephanie

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Lanthanide-based nanoparticles can be used in a variety of applications, including biomedical work such as imaging and cancer therapies, and in solar cells. This thesis presents two different potential applications for lanthanide-based nanoparticles and a possible new method for single nanoparticle analysis. Each of the projects presented in this thesis starts from the colloidal synthesis of the nanoparticles and then explores their varying properties, such as size and size distribution, crystallinity, elemental composition, and optical properties. Chapter 1 presents a short introduction to lanthanides and explores their ability to luminesce and upconvert. These optical properties make lanthanide-based nanoparticles attractive in both the visible and near-infrared (NIR) range. Chapter 2 explores the possibility of using β-LaF3:Nd3+ (5%) nanoparticles in a colloidal laser to overcome some issues that solid state lasers face due to thermal effects. A colloidal laser requires small nanoparticles that can emit a useful wavelength and that are dispersed in a high boiling point liquid. In Chapter 3, a cation exchange of ytterbium for yttrium and erbium in water-dispersible β-NaYF4:Er3+ nanoparticles across a polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) surface coating was tested as a possible synthesis route for radioactive nanoparticles. Incorporating radioactive materials at the end of a therapy preparation would limit the number of synthesis steps in an isotope laboratory. Chapter 4 presents single-particle analysis of β-NaYF4:Er3+ (50%) nanoparticles using X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) at the Canadian Light Source (CLS). Electron beams in scanning electron transmission microscopes (STEM) can damage the samples, making quantification of nanoparticles challenging. Finally, Chapter 5 discusses some conclusions and suggests possible future work.



lanthanides, nanoparticles, colloidal laser, cation exchange, XAS, single nanoparticle analysis