Understanding behavior of rare-earth ions (REI) in crowded environments is crucial for several nano- and bio-technological applications. Evolution of REI photoluminescence (PL) in small compartments inside a silica hydrogel, mimic to a soft matter bio-environment, has been studied and explained within a solvation model. The model uncovered the origin of high PL efficiency to be the formation of REI complexes, surrounded by bile salt (DOC) molecules. Comparative study of these REI-DOC complexes in bulk water solution and those enclosed inside the hydrogel revealed a strong correlation between an up to 5×-longer lifetime of REIs and appearance of the DOC ordered phase, further confirmed by dynamics of REI solvation shells, REI diffusion experiments and morphological characterization of microstructure of the hydrogel.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry