We explored a synthesis route based on the polymer complex solution method for the production of the rare-earth doped Lu2O3 crystalline nanopowders. In this type of synthesis polyethylene glycol is used both as fuel for the combustion reaction, and as nucleation agent for the crystallization process. Synthesized materials were characterized with X-ray diffraction technique, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, EDX technique and photoluminescence spectroscopy with steady state and time domain measurements. X-ray diffraction and electron diffraction analysis showed that presented synthesis procedure yields pure-phase, well crystallized Lu2O3 nanopowders with the particles dimensions in the 30-50 nm range, as observed from TEM images. Luminescence properties of Sm3+ and Tb3+ doped Lu2O3 exhibited characteristic red and pseudo-white emissions from these rare-earth ions, with an average emission lifetime of 0.8 and 0.6 ms, respectively. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.