Suffren Y., Zare D., Eliseeva, S.V., Guénée L., Nozary H., Lathion T., Aboshyan-Sorgho L., Petoud S., Hauser A. and Piguet C.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry C (2013) 117 (51) 26957-26963 - doi : 10.1021/jp4107519
Light-upconversion via stepwise energy transfer from a sensitizer to an activator exploits linear optics for converting low-energy infrared or near-infrared incident photons to higher energy emission. This approach is restricted to activators possessing intermediate long-lived excited states such as those found for trivalent lanthanide cations dispersed in solid-state matrices. When the activator is embedded in a molecular complex, efficient nonradiative relaxation processes usually reduce excited state lifetimes to such an extent that upconversion becomes too inefficient to be detected under practical excitation intensities. Theoretical considerations presented here predict that the combination of at least two millisecond time scale sensitizers with a central lanthanide activator in supramolecular complexes circumvents this bottleneck by creating a novel upconversion pathway, in which successive excitations are stored on the sensitizers prior to inducing stepwise energy transfer processes. Application of this concept to the chromium/erbium pair demonstrates that strong-field trivalent chromium chromophores irradiated with near-infrared photons produce upconverted green erbium-centered emission in discrete dinuclear and trinuclear triple-stranded helicates.