A full palette: Crystal chemistry, polymorphism, synthetic strategies, and functional applications of lanthanide oxyhalides Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2018 Elsevier Inc. Ionic compounds wherein lanthanide cations are arrayed alongside anions adopt a wide range of crystal structures as a result of the variation of ionic radii and electronic configurations across the lanthanide series. Owing to the constricted nature of 4f orbitals, local coordination environments and structural preferences in such compounds are primarily dictated by electrostatic interactions and steric considerations with the primary driving force being the minimization of the crystal lattice energy. In this review, we examine a broad class of dianionic rare-earth compounds, lanthanide oxyhalides that present a multidimensional design space for tuning of functional properties by dint of the possibilities for extensive alloying on cationic and anionic sublattices; the considerable span of ionic radii and hardness across the lanthanide series and down the halide group, respectively; a large tolerance window for point defects such as oxide and halide vacancies; as well as multiple accessible polymorphs. In addition to their structural versatility, control over functional properties is accessible based on alteration of microstructure and surface chemistry. Synthetic strategies for accessing atomistic, nanoscale, and mesoscale control are discussed using illustrative examples placing particular emphasis on non-hydrolytic sol—gel processes that provide access to well-defined solid-solution nanocrystals. The reactivity and post-synthetic modification of these compounds is further delineated. Methods for defining color centers within these compounds, cooperativity of the optical response of the color centers with the host lattice (determined by overlap integrals specific to each structure type and the polarization and ligand field effects of different halide ions) and adjacent color centers (reliant on energy transfer schema), and their practical application in phosphors are further detailed. Mechanisms facilitating down- and up-conversion of energy absorbed from incident electromagnetic radiation or high-energy particles are delineated with particular emphasis on X-ray and electron-beam excitation. The accessible energy conversion mechanisms, efficacious radiative recombination channels, and opportunities for systematically tuning color through compositional modulation have led to the emergence of these materials as potential candidates for phosphors. These materials have potential applications in solid-state lighting, radiation detection, and as the active elements of imaging devices. The tolerance towards large concentrations of anion vacancies and the facile diffusivity of anions in these compounds further underpins the function of lanthanide oxyhalides as ion conductors, gas sensors, and heterogeneous catalysts. Increasing interest has focused on utilization of well-defined color centers for quantum information science and multiplexed sensing in biological systems. Such applications require additional control of the positioning of dopant atoms and understanding of their interactions with the host lattice and other dopant atoms.

altmetric score

  • 3.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Udayakantha, M., Schofield, P., Waetzig, G. R., & Banerjee, S.

citation count

  • 6

publication date

  • February 2019