Tb3+ and Eu3+ ions were encapsulated for the first time in the inorganic layers of a synthetic saponite clay following a one-pot synthetic approach. The co-presence of the two metal ions led to tuneable light-emitting properties, promoted by an efficient Tb3+ → Eu3+ energy transfer and enhanced Stokes shift character. To our knowledge, the so-prepared luminescent material was tested for the first time as an optical sensor for the detection of chromate anions in water.
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