Metal-insulator multilayer precursors for enhanced Sm2+ absorption and Tm2+ luminescence in SiAlO thin films prepared by magnetron sputtering

G. B.F. Bosco, J. K. van den Biesen, C. D. Boers, G. Simone, J. Kao, F. D. Tichelaar, B. Boshuizen, E. van der Kolk

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Silicon-aluminum-oxigen (SiAlO) coatings doped with Sm2+ and prepared by reactive magnetron co-sputtering of Si, Al, and Sm targets, are attractive for luminescence solar concentrator applications but suffer from the low absorption between 300 and 600 nm. This article reports that the main cause of low absorption is a high concentration of undesired Sm3+. This finding is supported by optical transmittance, photoluminescence emission and excitation characterization, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy data of the Sm's 3d5/2 edge. We present an alternative deposition process for obtaining Sm doped SiAlO layers with enhanced Sm2+ absorption by incorporating Sm through the use of multilayer thin-film precursors composed of metallic Sm and SiAlO layers. After thermal post-deposition treatments, diffusion and reaction of the metallic Sm layers with the SiAlO host results in coatings showing the characteristic 5d → 4f transitions of Sm2+ in the region between 250 and 600 nm which were not detectable in Sm-doped single layers. This same deposition strategy produces Tm doped SiAlO coatings with Tm2+‘s characteristic luminescence at 1132 nm when the SiAlO host is in the mullite composition region. The photoluminescence excitation spectrum of Tm2+ is compared to phosphor with similar composition and covers the range between 300 and 700 nm.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118421
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Luminescence
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Magnetron sputtering
  • Multilayered thin films
  • Samarium
  • Thulium


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