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Perego, J.; Bezuidenhout, Charl X.; Villa, I.; Cova, F.; Crapanzano, R.; Frank, I.; Pagano, F.; Kratochwill, N.; Auffray, E.; Bracco, S.; Vedda, A.; Dujardin, C.; Sozzani, P. E.; Meinardi, F.; Comotti, A. and Monguzzi, A. (2022): Highly luminescent scintillating hetero-ligand MOF nanocrystals with engineered Stokes shift for photonic applications. In: Nature Communications, Vol. 13, No. 1, 3504

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Large Stokes shift fast emitters show a negligible reabsorption of their luminescence, a feature highly desirable for several applications such as fluorescence imaging, solar-light managing, and fabricating sensitive scintillating detectors for medical imaging and high-rate high-energy physics experiments. Here we obtain high efficiency luminescence with significant Stokes shift by exploiting fluorescent conjugated acene building blocks arranged in nanocrystals. Two ligands of equal molecular length and connectivity, yet complementary electronic properties, are co-assembled by zirconium oxy-hydroxy clusters, generating crystalline hetero-ligand metal-organic framework (MOF) nanocrystals. The diffusion of singlet excitons within the MOF and the matching of ligands absorption and emission properties enables an ultrafast activation of the low energy emission in the 100 ps time scale. The hybrid nanocrystals show a fluorescence quantum efficiency of similar to 60% and a Stokes shift as large as 750 meV (similar to 6000 cm(-1)), which suppresses the emission reabsorption also in bulk devices. The fabricated prototypal nanocomposite fast scintillator shows benchmark performances which compete with those of some inorganic and organic commercial systems.

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