Valence control of polyvalent cations is important for functionalization of various kinds of materials. Indium oxides have been used in various applications, such as indium tin oxide in transparent electrical conduction films. However, although metastable In+ (5 s2 configuration) species exhibit photoluminescence (PL), they have attracted little attention. Valence control of In+ cations in these materials will be important for further functionalization. Here, we describe In+ species using PL and X-ray absorption fine structure (XAFS) analysis. Three absorption bands in the UV region are attributed to the In+ centre: two weak forbidden bands (1S0 → 3P1, 1S0 → 3P2) and a strong allowed band (1S0 → 1P1). The strongest PL excitation band cannot be attributed to the conventional allowed transition to the singlet excited state. Emission decay of the order of microseconds suggests that radiative relaxation occurs from the triplet excitation state. The XAFS analysis suggests that these In+ species have shorter In-O distances with lower coordination numbers than in In2O3. These results clearly demonstrate that In+ exists in a metastable amorphous network, which is the origin of the observed luminescent properties.
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