Silver aggregates and twofold-coordinated tin centers in phosphate glass: A photoluminescence study

J. A. Jiménez, S. Lysenko, H. Liu, E. Fachini, O. Resto, C. R. Cabrera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The optical properties of silver species in various oxidation and aggregation states and of tin centers in melt-quenched phosphate glasses have been assessed by optical absorption and photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy. Glasses containing silver and tin, or either dopant, were studied. Emission and excitation spectra along with time-resolved and temperature-dependent PL measurements were employed in elucidating the different emitting centers observed and investigating on their interactions. In regard to silver, the data suggests the presence of luminescent single Ag+ ions, Ag+-Ag+ and Ag+-Ag0 pairs, and nonluminescent Ag nanoparticles (NPs), where Ag+-Ag0→Ag+-Ag+ energy transfer is indicated. Tin optical centers appear as twofold-coordinated Sn centers displaying PL around 400 nm ascribed to triplet-to-singlet electronic transitions. The optically active silver centers were observed in glasses where 8 mol% of both Ag2O and SnO, and 4 mol% of Ag2O were added. Heat treatment (HT) of the glass with the high concentration of silver and tin leads to chemical reduction of ionic silver species resulting in a large volume fraction of silver NPs and the vanishing of silver PL features. Further characterization of such heat-treated glass by transmission electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy appears consistent with silver being present mainly in nonoxidized form after HT. On the other hand, HT of the glass containing only silver results in the quenching of Ag+-Ag0 pairs emission that is ascribed to nonradiative energy transfer to Ag NPs due to the positioning of the pairs near the surface of NPs during HT. In this context, an important finding is that a faster relaxation was observed for this nanocomposite in relation to a heat-treated glass containing both silver and tin (no silver pairs) as revealed by degenerate four-wave mixing spectroscopy. Such result is attributed to Ag NP→Ag+-Ag0 plasmon resonance energy transfer. The data thus indicates that energy transfer between Ag+-Ag0 pairs and NPs is bi-directional.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1546-1554
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Luminescence
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Energy transfer
  • Photoluminescence
  • Silver nanoparticles
  • Silver pairs
  • Tin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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