Synthesis and characterization of finely dispersed phosphors doped with rare-earth metal ions for enhanced photodynamic therapy of cancer

  • Vadim V. BakhmetyevEmail author
  • Anastasia M. Dorokhina
  • Mariia V. Keskinova
  • Segrey V. Mjakin
  • Anna B. Vlasenko
  • Lev A. Lebedev
  • Vitalii V. Malygin
  • Maxim M. Sychov
Original Paper


Finely dispersed NaBaPO4:Eu2+, NaGdF4:Eu3+, BaGdF5:Eu3+, GdF3:Yb3+, Er3+ and YF3:Yb3+, Er3+ phosphors are synthesized using a sol–gel procedure and hydrothermal method. A process is developed for obtaining NaBaPO4:Eu2+ phosphors with enhanced dispersion via sol–gel precipitation followed by a high-temperature annealing in molten NaCl. The applied annealing technique provided a 3.8-fold decrease in the phosphor particle size and 11-fold increase in the finely dispersed (less than 1 μm) fraction compared with the phosphors prepared using a conventional sol–gel method. In addition to already known luminescence centers comprising Eu2+ ions located in NaBaPO4 lattice sites with coordination numbers 10 and 12, these phosphors are found to contain two more types of luminescence centers supposedly corresponding to Eu2+ ions in the same positions locating on the phosphor particle surface. According to the obtained data, the energy levels of luminescence centers in the NaBaPO4:Eu2+ phosphor are summarized in a chart. NaGdF4:Eu3+ phosphor is shown to be mostly appropriate for X-ray stimulated photodynamic therapy (PDT), while GdF3:Yb3+, Er3+ phosphor is promising for IR-activated PDT. The efficiency of 980 nm IR laser-induced generation of active oxygen by a medicine involving the YF3:Yb3+, Er3+ phosphor, and Radachlorin photosensitizer is studied.

Graphic abstract

A finely dispersed NaBaPO4:Eu2+ phosphor is synthesized using a modified sol-gel method and studied to make a detailed energy chart of luminescence centers, including specific energy levels of surface sites. A nanosized (particles below 100 nm) YF3:Yb3+,Er3+ phosphor synthesized via hydrothermal technique is found to be useful for photodynamic therapy of abdominal cancer in couple with Radachlorin photosensitizer by generating active oxygen upon IR stimulation.


Nanosized phosphors Sol–gel method Hydrothermal synthesis Mixed phosphates Fluorides Photodynamic therapy Active oxygen 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Chemistry, Slovak Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Theory of Materials ScienceSaint-Petersburg State Institute of Technology (Technical University)St PetersburgRussia

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