Orthogonal luminescence lifetime encoding by intermetallic energy transfer in heterometallic rare-earth MOFs

Nat Commun. 2023 Feb 22;14(1):981. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-36576-z.


Lifetime-encoded materials are particularly attractive as optical tags, however examples are rare and hindered in practical application by complex interrogation methods. Here, we demonstrate a design strategy towards multiplexed, lifetime-encoded tags via engineering intermetallic energy transfer in a family of heterometallic rare-earth metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). The MOFs are derived from a combination of a high-energy donor (Eu), a low-energy acceptor (Yb) and an optically inactive ion (Gd) with the 1,2,4,5 tetrakis(4-carboxyphenyl) benzene (TCPB) organic linker. Precise manipulation of the luminescence decay dynamics over a wide microsecond regime is achieved via control over metal distribution in these systems. Demonstration of this platform’s relevance as a tag is attained via a dynamic double encoding method that uses the braille alphabet, and by incorporation into photocurable inks patterned on glass and interrogated via digital high-speed imaging. This study reveals true orthogonality in encoding using independently variable lifetime and composition, and highlights the utility of this design strategy, combining facile synthesis and interrogation with complex optical properties.

PMID:36813785 | PMC:PMC9947006 | DOI:10.1038/s41467-023-36576-z


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