In this work it is shown that CaZnOS:Eu2+ has no Eu2+ emission even at low temperature. The observed and earlier reported red emission originates from a CaS:Eu2+ impurity phase. By means of washing the as-prepared samples with diluted nitride acid, we were able to remove the CaS impurity phase and study the Eu2+ emission in the pure CaZnOS phase. A clear relation was found between the red emission intensity, the CaS XRD line intensities and the nitric acid solution washing time, with zero intensity after prolonged washing. A so-called VRBE (vacuum referred binding energy)-diagram was constructed showing the energy of the 4fn and 4fn-15d1 states of the divalent and trivalent rare earth ions as dopants in CaZnOS with respect to the vacuum energy. This diagram shows that the 5d-levels of Eu2+ are located in the conduction band, which explains the absence of 5d→4f emission. By comparing the VRBE diagram with diagrams of other related compounds like CaO, CaS, ZnO and ZnS it becomes clear that the Eu2+ luminescence quenching is caused by a low lying conduction band, typical for Zn-based compounds.
- Energy level