We have studied the photoluminescence (PL) of (Y, Ln)VO4:Eu3+ (Ln = La and Gd) phosphors and the correlation of the PL of those phosphor with their crystal structure. It is found that (Y, Gd)VO4:Eu3+ phosphors have the same crystal structure as YVO4:Eu, which is tetragonal with a little different lattice parameters. In the case of (Y, La)VO4:Eu phosphors, however, the gradual change from tetragonal to monoclinic structure of host lattice was observed as the amount of La ion increased. To investigate the PL property of (Y, Ln)VO4:Eu3+ (Ln = La and Gd) phosphors, vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) and ultraviolet (UV) excitation were used. The favorable crystal structure for the PL intensity of orthovanadate phosphor under 147 and 254 nm excitation was tetragonal containing Gd ion and under 365 nm excitation was monclinic containing La ion which might have the lowest site symmetry for Eu3+ ion. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.