We report on the fabrication and luminescent properties of rare earth-doped gallium nitride (GaN) phosphor powders. Single phase GaN and GaN:RE3+ powders were prepared by using a novel chemical route.
In this work a new method for the synthesis of high purity, single phase doped GaN powders is reported. (Ga1-xREx)N powders are obtained by dissolving metal nitrates (Ga(NO3)3, (RE(NO3)3) in deionized water and an organic fuel (hydrazine) in order to form a gallium/RE amorphous/nanocrystalline powder. The RE-oxide powders are then reacted with heated ammonia at different temperatures and processing times producing GaN:RE phosphors. X-ray diffraction analysis showed that single phase GaN powders are formed. Preliminary results show (Ga0.95Eu0.05)N powders are luminescent, with the main emission occurring at 611 nm which is due to the 5Do→7F2 transitions in Eu3+. High-purity GaN powders are obtained according to Xray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) chemical analysis. Low-temperature cathodoluminescence and photoluminescence measurements indicate that the emission at λ=611 nm is originated from energy transfer from the host to the rare earth ion and to a direct excitation to the Eu3+ electronic levels.
This method can be used to obtain red-luminescence GaN:Eu3+ and other rare earth (e.g. Er, Tb, Tm)-doped GaN powders to produce green and blue luminescence as well.