Lighting up the near infra red

A novel class of lanthanide compounds that emit in the near-infra-red could open up new possibilities for the use of NIR in biological imaging as well as leading to materials for optical amplifiers and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) operating at telecommunications frequencies.

According to Jean-Claude B├╝nzli of the EPFL, the Federal Polytechnic School in Lausanne, Switzerland, lanthanide compounds are of great interest in a number of fields because they produce narrow and easily recognisable emission lines in the NIR, they also have relatively long excited state lifetimes relative to organic chromophores. It is this latter characteristic of lanthanide coordination polymers that makes them of particular interest as they can be applied to time-resolved spectroscopy in analytical procedures allowing an enhanced signal-to-noise ratio and so much-improved sensitivity for luminescent analyses and imaging.

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