Yb and Er codoped NaT(XO 4 ) 2 (T = Y, La, Gd, Lu and X = Mo, W) disordered oxides show a green (Er3+ related) up-conversion (UC) efficiency comparable to that of Yb:Er:β-NaYF4 compound and unless 3 times larger UC ratiometric thermal sensitivity. The similar UC efficiency of Yb:Er doped NaT(XO 4 ) 2 and β-NaYF4 compounds allowed testing equal subcutaneous depths of ex-vivo chicken tissue in both cases. This extraordinary behavior for NaT (XO 4 ) 2 oxides with large cutoff phonon energy (h 920 cm-1) is ascribed to 4F9/2 electron population recycling to higher energy 4G11/2 level by a phonon assisted transition. Crystalline nanoparticles of Yb:Er:NaLu(MoO 4 ) 2 have been synthesized by sol-gel with sizes most commonly in the 50-80 nm range, showing a relatively small reduction of the UC efficiency with regards to bulk materials. Fluorescence lifetime and multiphoton imaging microscopies show that these nanoparticles can be efficiently distributed to all body organs of a perfused mouse. © 2017 Zaldo et al.This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.