- Monitoring the orientation of rare-earth-doped nanorods for flow shear tomography
- Nature Nanotechnology
- Volume | Issue number
- 12 | 9
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS)
Rare-earth phosphors exhibit unique luminescence polarization features originating from the anisotropic symmetry of the emitter ion's chemical environment. However, to take advantage of this peculiar property, it is necessary to control and measure the ensemble orientation of the host particles with a high degree of precision. Here, we show a methodology to obtain the photoluminescence polarization of Eu-doped LaPO4 nanorods assembled in an electrically modulated liquid-crystalline phase. We measure Eu3+ emission spectra for the three main optical configurations (sigma, pi and alpha, depending on the direction of observation and the polarization axes) and use them as a reference for the nanorod orientation analysis. Based on the fact that flowing nanorods tend to orient along the shear strain profile, we use this orientation analysis to measure the local shear rate in a flowing liquid. The potential of this approach is then demonstrated through tomographic imaging of the shear rate distribution in a microfluidic system.
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